Thursday, January 16, 2020

December Luncheon

Another Christmas season has come and gone, and many of us are left with the sweetest memories in our hearts and minds. The ladies of the Monroeville Garden Club celebrated the season together with a Christmas luncheon and an afternoon of fellowship and fun.

Mrs. Jeanne Sewell hosted the meeting on December 19, 2018 at the Vanity Fair Country Club. She decorated each table beautifully with centerpieces of fresh greenery, pine cones, berries, and ornaments placed in Christmas tins, and also incorporated a red ceramic boot into the decor, a treasure painted by her late father years prior. Jeanne touched on the value of a grateful heart in any situation before delivering a beautiful blessing over the meal.

The delicious luncheon of mixed salad greens, smoked ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans, and rolls was served buffet-style. Mrs. Jeanne did a wonderful job preparing the desserts and members enjoyed glazed wine cake and ultimate chocolate cake with coffee, tea and water to drink.

After the meal the ladies enjoyed an ornament swap, not-so-subtly disguised as a favorite game of Dirty Santa. It has been said that Christmas is so much more than a season, it is a feeling; May the wonderful feelings of Christmas fill all our hearts and be felt throughout the new year!


Wednesday, December 18, 2019

November Meeting

These last months of the year have certainly been busy for most of us, and the Monroeville Garden Club has had some exciting things going on! 

A workday in late October proved very productive, as members weeded the drift roses and worked on two beds that are part of the old courthouse landscape. The pots along the square have also been updated with winter plants and new lights.

There was a scheduled meeting on November 14 at the Monroeville Presbyterian Church. Hostess Voncile Stringer and Co-Hostess Sara Bradley did a wonderful job of setting up, decorating, and preparing and serving refreshments.

This was a very special meeting in that Ms. Margaret Groves presented Ms. Evelyn Bond with a lifetime membership in the Garden Club of America on behalf of the Monroeville Garden Club. These lifetime memberships help fund Garden Club of America scholarships which are given to men and women who are studying to be horticulturists, landscape designers, or foresters. Congratulations to you, Ms. Evelyn Bond! Ms. Diane Bond was also recognized as a guest of Ms. Bond.   

The MGC also welcomed two new members, Pat Hendrix and Charlotte Lambert. We are certainly excited to grow again!   

The program titled, "Gardening with Bulbs" was presented by Ms. Luan Akridge, Master Gardener from Mobile, Al. She spoke about the five basic types of bulbs including true bulbs, corms, tubers, rhizomes, and tuberous roots, and brought examples of each one. If you're interested in your own bulb garden, is a great online resource and has lots of useful information to help get you started. When buying bulbs, Ms. Akridge recommends looking for plump, firm bulbs that feel heavy for their size. Buying good quality bulbs assures you of the best first year performance, but location, soil, and proper planting are other factors that will influence the outcome. You should choose a location by growing conditions specific to each bulb. Most bulbs require good drainage, so make sure to assess the condition and quality of the soil. Add organic matter if your soil needs improving. When planting bulbs, you should follow the recommended planting depth and spacing specific to each bulb type. 

Ms. Akridge brought a number of plants from her personal garden and invited members to choose one to take with them when departing.

Refreshments of pimento cheese sandwiches, chicken salad sandwiches, cheese straws, pecan tassies, and tea cakes were served, and members and guests enjoyed their time together.

(L) Voncile Stringer - Host
(R) Sara Bradley - Co-Hostess

Margaret Groves presenting Evelyn Bond with Lifetime Membership to GCA

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

October Meeting

The Monroeville Garden Club had a wonderful meeting on October 10 at the Monroeville Presbyterian Church, hosted by Mrs. Nancy Zeibach and co-hosted by Mrs. Brenda Gardner. The program titled "Be Loyal to Your Soil" was presented by Mr. James Miles, Horticulturist and Regional Extension Agent from Mobile.

If you were to ask a farmer, a seasoned gardener, and James Miles what the key element to thriving plant life is, they would likely tell you the same thing: healthy soil. And if you were to do a little digging (pun intended) you would easily understand why.

Soil is its own ecosystem and it is complex. It is full of living and non-living creatures that are contributing to its richness. Earthworms, insects, bacteria, and fungi are just a few of the organisms and micro-organisms (there are billions in a handful of healthy soil) living and working underground, and they probably don't get the credit they deserve. They break down and recycle dead and decaying material, restoring the soil's nutrients and improving its structure in the process. Plants absorb these nutrients and humans and animals feed on the plants. In short, soil sustains life so we must conserve and protect it.

Mr. Miles recommends having a soil test done if you haven't already. This is the most thorough and accurate way to know your soil, good, bad, and ugly. The results will list your soil's pH level and measure it's health by pinpointing deficiencies. Reach out to the local extension office if you are unsure about the soil test process and/or reading the results. Understanding this analysis will eliminate any guesswork in determining what your soil needs. From this point, you can begin to prep your soil, which should be an integral part of your planting plan. In addition to your soil test results, your prep will depend on factors such as time, resources, and what you're planting. Adding organic matter (think leaves and yard clippings), applying lime, planting cover crops, and composting are all great ways to help meet your soil's needs. Again, your local extension office can be very helpful with questions or concerns. And no matter the project in mind or the area you're covering, healthy soil will benefit us in more ways than we can imagine.
After the presentation, club members and guest visitors gathered together and snacked on goodies prepared by the hostesses. There were tortilla roll-ups, roasted pecans, M&M cookies, apple turnovers, lemon tarts, and chocolate pecan fudge. Signs of an early autumn could be seen on every tabletop. A beautiful centerpiece full of sunflowers and daisies with aucuba foliage was placed among the goodies, and bright pumpkins and leaves on the surrounding tables. It was a truly inviting setting and an afternoon that everyone enjoyed.

** Monroe County Extension Office ~ 251-575-3477 **

Sunday, September 15, 2019

September Meeting

September marks a new year for the Monroeville Garden Club, and Ms. Sharon Brewton hosted the first meeting at her home in Monroeville. Ms. Jean Singleton was the co-hostess. Members welcomed one another back after the summer break and were excited to catch up before the meeting was called to order. Per usual, the first meeting is a time for members to receive new yearbooks, discuss and decide on upcoming plans and projects, talk through old and new business, and just enjoy being together again. 

 The ladies kicked the meeting off with a challenging but fun game of Garden Scattegories. There is never a shortage of laughter when this group gets together, especially when games are thrown into the mix. How many annual flowers beginning with the letter "M" could you name in two minutes? What about vegetable garden plants beginning with "C"? You might surprise yourself!

After discussing the ongoing projects of the MGC, members agreed to press on with no major changes. Working to maintain the Katherine Lee Rose Garden outside the courthouse and assisting in the maintenance of the landscaping at the Monroe County Public Library are just a couple of ways the MGC serves to keep our town beautiful.

After taking care of business the ladies picked right back up swapping stories and sharing their summertime. They enjoyed a variety of goodies including almond tea cakes, pecan tarts, pretzel snack mix, a pepper relish dip and a shallot and chive dip, crackers, mixed nuts, cheese straws, pimento cheese sandwiches, fresh strawberries and grapes, and beautiful cupcakes decorated with brightly-colored buttercream flowers, and lemonade to wash it all down.

September finds many of us longing for autumn and the promise of cooler, crisp air and leaves changing colors. Summer seems to linger, especially in the south. If we could bottle up our favorite memories of summer, what would they be? The smell of fresh-cut grass? Children splashing in a shallow creek? Lazy dogs under the porch swing? Hold on to these last days of summer. We'll be missing them before we know it.         

New Yearbook Cover

Dining table with centerpiece

Dining Room Centerpiece

Table full of goodies

Close-up of cupcakes

Thursday, May 23, 2019

May Meeting

The Monroeville Garden Club met one last time on May 9 before welcoming the summer break and a few months off. Ms. Evelyn Bond hosted the meeting at her home in Monroeville, and Ms. Judi Burns co-hosted. There was also an official recognition and warm welcome for new member, Ms. Laura York. 

The meeting was called to order and members got right down to business, discussing ways to better manage/maintain the areas and plants the club is responsible for. The Auburn hollies in the planter pots around the square are doing well, as are the petunias sharing the space. A few existing beds around certain shops along the square have salvia returning from last year and violas that are thriving as of now, but will probably need replacing if they succumb to the summer heat. Powdery mildew is an ongoing issue with the drift roses around the courthouse, so members are considering different treatment options. The MGC purchased a dozen knockout rose bushes to replace some that were declining at Veteran's Park, and the YMCA got them planted, as they are now managing the park. The rose garden outside the courthouse got a heavy pruning in February and was recently sprayed for weeds and fertilized. Deadheading the roses and putting out new mulch will be done over the next few weeks, and members decided to repaint the garden arbor later in the year. These are just a few of the ongoing projects discussed at the meeting. There are many clubs, organizations, and individuals who work year-round to keep our city beautiful, and the Monroeville Garden Club is proud to be part of the effort. 

After all business had been addressed, members mingled and munched on goodies prepared by Ms. Bond and Ms. Burns. There were fresh fruit skewers, chips and dips, pimento cheese or garden tomato sandwiches, chicken salad roll-ups, cheese biscuits, mixed nuts, and chocolate iced bundt cake, with fresh lemonade, coffee and water as beverage choices. Beautiful fresh flowers were arranged in a centerpiece on the table. Before leaving, club members were invited to walk around the property where they admired quite an array of colorful flowers and landscape. It was a grand finale to end the meeting and kick off sweet summertime! 

"Summer was our best season. It was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the treehouse; summer was everything good to eat. It was a thousand colors in a
parched landscape."
~ Harper Lee,
To Kill A Mockingbird

(L) Evelyn Bond, Hostess and (R) Judi Burns, Co-Hostess

Monday, April 29, 2019

April Outing

The Monroeville Garden Club members and guests met on April 11 at the home of Ms. Pat Hendrix in Frisco City. There was no official meeting held as no business was conducted, but members and guests enjoyed touring the beautiful gardens on the property. There was a handout provided on shade gardening, along with a list of plants recommended for such. Ms. Hendrix was on hand to speak on the subject and entertain any other questions/comments about various plants in the garden. 

Mrs. Bev Colquett was the hostess for the outing, and provided yummy, Spring/Easter themed snacks served box-style for members and guests to enjoy. These included bunny-shaped walnut-cream cheese sandwiches, egg-shaped pimento-cheese sandwiches, fruit kabobs, cream cheese pecan cookies, Rolo pretzel turtles, lemonade punch and coffee. A picnic table was decorated with an Easter basket centerpiece, which the ladies enjoyed.

Everyone in attendance agreed that the property is absolutely stunning and pictures simply do not do justice. The Monroeville Garden Club would like to thank Ms. Pat Hendrix for her hospitality, her wisdom, and for her inspiration.

"A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust." ~ Gertrude Jekyll