Field trip to Sequim: Peony Farm today

Sequim, WA is well known for growing Lavender in the rain shadow of the Olympic mountains. Another lesser well known group of plants that grow really well in that somewhat dry region of Western Washington are peonies. My garden club had a field trip today to the Peony Farm where we learned about three types of peonies. The prices ranged from $28. To $110. I was surprised by that fact. They get dug and delivered for planting in November. My luck, they would make a very expensive salad bar for the deer, but they sure make beautiful subjects for photographs.

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Plant heads united

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Central Valley Garden Club went on another field trip but not to a public garden. I’ve heard about Watson’s Greenhouse and Windmill Nursery for two years now but the opportunity for a shopping trip did not present itself until now. What great places: Comprehensive garden centers with very healthy plants.

20130515-170419.jpg Recently I have been interested in succulents and they have great examples.

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Tool Time 1-2-3-4

Let’s be honest now. How many gardeners in the blogesphere clean their tools on a regular basis? On a yearly basis? Ever? Last week at my garden club one really smart lady piped up and said, “Let’s have a tool cleaning party! It will be more fun to do it together.” Every one thought about the state of their tools and said Yeah! One lady volunteered her shop space. People brought pot luck lunch. Others brought cleaning supplies. Every one brought dirty, rusty tools! So, one week later we gathered. One lady watched some Ace Hardware video clips and shared how to do clean tools.

1. Use a wire brush to remove dirt and some rust.
2. Use sand paper and/or steel wool to get remaining rust off.
3. Use steel file to sharpen as needed.
4. Use spray oil to lubricate moveable parts. We also used boiled linseed oil on wooden handles.

Now we have no excuse! The first photo is my “before” pile of tools.

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This is my pile of tools after cleaning.

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Near the very end of our cleaning, the hostess showed us that she keeps a pail of sand with oil in it , that is to be used when she finishes garden work with tools. She dips the tools in the oily sand and cleans them off before storage. I need to do this to keep my tools looking good!

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Turning trimmings into decorations in the Evergreen State

Have you ever thought about making your own Christmas wreath? Or even thought about how they are made for you to purchase? Central Valley Garden Club members make these swags and wreaths for their annual December sale. I was really impressed with the production line and participated in the volunteer work for a day. With Christmas music in the background it was a lovely way to spend a day.

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Cross Sound Arranger’s Guild

Today I was invited to be a guest at the Cross Sound Arranger’s Guild. Four times a year this group of talented flower arrangers gets together to share, teach, learn and critique examples using the Federated Garden Clubs of America’s rules and style. I am used to American Rose Society’s rules and styles so this is very different for me. ARS rules state that the rose must be dominant. In Federated arrangements, the theme or category seems to rule. For example, the designs today were “holiday illuminary”, which means lights need to be incorporated in the design.

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Christmas design

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Thanksgiving designs

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Fall arrangement with roses

People who know me, know I am all about roses and that I really enjoy doing rose arrangements. When we moved west, one of the first things I did was connect with a Garden Club, Rose Club and Mum club to meet local gardeners. Over this year, I have learned that Federated Garden Club arrangement rules are really different that ARS rose arranging rules. In ARS the roses mus be dominant. In Federated, the theme or description of the class rules what should be done. For example, this week I was one of three hostesses for Central Valley Garden Club and part of that responsibility is to make an arrangement that included fruit or vegetables. This is what I did…

ImageThe two roses are ‘Polka’ an apricot blend climber that has only been in the ground one year. Yes, I did make the carrot cake cupcakes from scratch.