Gardeners flourish in heat and rain

The last three months have been very busy for the Hillsboro Garden Club. Despite the rain and heat, in May the club managed to successfully host the Ohio Association of Garden Clubs Region 16 semi-annual meeting, participate in Hillsboro’s Flea Market and hold its semi-annual spring plant sale.

Sadly, in May, our member Rose Marie Cowdrey lost her husband, Dan. He was well-known in the community and was a great supporter of the Garden Club as well as being instrumental in Floral Hall becoming a reality. He will certainly be missed by all who knew him.

Teresa Cudkowicz’s arrangement for the evening was entitled “Winter Into Spring” featuring Japanese lilies, spirea, Hosta leaves, roses and cinnamon fern, all from her garden. A very beautiful design and a true welcome to Spring. We had a very good program in May, “Wildflowers, Not Weeds” by Beryl Gruelle. We all have them: dandelions, feverfew, burdock, lambs quarter, chicory, and many others that we consider weeds. Many weeds have been utilized through the years in medicine, and have only recently been recognized for the many healing properties they possess. Today, modern medicine is using long-ignored plants to further medical research.

June brought more rain and heat as well to the Ohio State Convention for all OAGC Garden Clubs, held in Maumee Bay State Park. Larry Moore gave the club a recap of all the activities held this year. Results of several statewide contest were announced, and our club earned several to bring home. Superior rating in the Program Book Contest and Superior Award in the Publicity Book Contest, Larry Moore was selected as Region 16’s Outstanding Garden Club Member. Larry also placed third in the Holiday Design category for the Faye Collins Designer of the Year Award, with Carol Gorby placing first in that category and chosen as the 2015 Faye Collins Designer of the Year. All in all, we made a very good showing. A trip to see the Quilt Gardens in indiana will hopefully take place in August. We are all excited to experience these one-of-a-kind quilt squares made entirely of flowers.

Once again, sad news to report. Louise Sprinkle, a long-time member beloved by us all passed away this month. An avid gardener and a gifted floral designer, Louise will be missed by the club and our community. In 2010, Louise was inducted into the Highland County Women’s Hall of Fame in recognition of her many years of service and involvement in our county.

Following the meeting, Carol Gorby presented her program on “Pressed Flowers.” It was an interactive program where members applied Mod Podge to a pre-cut plywood board, arranged a variety of already-pressed flowers into a pleasing design, applied them to the wet surface, let it dry, then sealed them in by applying a final coat of Mod Podge. Bolts and wing nuts fastened through holes in all four corners of the boards allow gentle pressure to be applied to the fresh flowers sandwiched between absorbent papers within. Allowed to dry for several weeks, the blooms will be flattened and dried and ready to be used on note cards, bookmarks and many other uses. Members took their creations home with plans to press many of their beautiful blossoms. Delicious refreshments of ice cream and lemon bars, iced tea and lemonade were provided by Kay Neugebauer and Ed Davis, to everyone’s delight.

The July meeting was the occasion of the annual Potluck Picnic. Always a delicious and friendly affair, it was attended by 20 members and two guests. Many mouth-watering dishes and savory desserts were enjoyed by all prior to the meeting. Items discussed during the meeting were member participation in the Highland County Fair Flower Shows by Cowdrey; preparation for election of officers for 2016-17; discussion of the trip to see the Quilt Gardens in Indiana; suggestions for future field trips by Ruth Anna Duff; and sign-ups for next year’s meeting responsibilities.

A very informative program was presented by Margaret Harriman, daughter of member Arlene Huiet. Margaret is a Master Gardener volunteer who has always been interested in bugs! Did you know that all of the thousands of kinds of insects only a small percentage are harmful? Most are beneficial in at least one or more stages of its life cycle. For instance, Ladybugs are deadly in their nymph and adult stages, Praying Mantis are bad news for jut about any other bug as soon as they hatch, and may others that go unseen are keeping the bad bugs at bay. We need to provide food and habitat in order to attract those beneficials. Monarch butterflies only lay eggs on milkweed plants where the emerging caterpillars have a ready supply of food. With the roadside spraying and mowing today, much of the once-pentiful milkweed has been eliminatd. We can help by planting those host plants in our gardens or natural areas if you have them. Margaret relayed how excited she was to see caterpillers eating the milkweed plants in her gardens, much to the surprise of her neighbors. After her explanation, they understood. Small starts of Swamp Milkweed were given to members to plant so they, too, can participate in the survival of beneficial insects. Margaret also talked about Phenology, the study of recurring biological events, and how you can use the sequence of natural events to help manage pests. Research at The Ohio State University has shown that plants bloom and insects emerge in virtually the same order every year, no matter what kind of weather occurred that winter or spring. For example, Japanese beetles emerge when morning glory plants bloom, so you know that is when to concrete on controlling that pest, not earlier or later when they have already done damage. Insecticide can then be used minimally. Much of this information can be accessed online at

Submitted by Carol Gorby, secretary, Hillsboro Garden Club.