October Field Trip to the Cape May Zoo UPDATE!

Fun Stuff!

Twenty-seven (27) Garden Club Members enjoyed the field trip to the Cape May Zoo. Members were troopers as they walked around with Daisy—the Zoo’s head landscaper—from 10:00 to noon. Twenty-four (24) members met for lunch afterward…another great time for all!


September Meeting Highlights!

Our first Garden Club of Ocean City, NJ meeting of the season can be described in one word Delicious!  The Salad Luncheon is always a big hit and with approximately 35 salads to chose from—not to mention the wonderful desserts—no one walked away hungry. We had 36 in attendance which included one new member as of the meeting.

We opened our meeting with the Garden Club Prayer, enjoyed our lunch and caught up with fellow members on our summertime activities. Our yearbook was distributed to those present and officers and the executive board were introduced.  Each member was also asked to stand up and introduce themselves to the group.
Members who were not in attendance will receive their Yearbooks at our November 1st meeting.

October Field Trip!

Next on the agenda, were the details of our October 4th field trip—Cape May County Zoo—with Daisy Bodaer, landscaper and chief gardener, as our guide for the tour. Lunch will be held at the Avalon Links Restaurant, the lunch cost is $17.00. Check your email for a link to RSVP. Carpooling will be available.

Horticulture & Artistic

The Horticulture (Fall Roses) and Artistic (Fruits of your Garden) pieces brought by various members were a beautiful addition to our meeting.

Christmas & Gardening…

Again this year, the Club will decorate one of the Christmas trees in the Atrium of the Ocean City Free Public Library. Please dry your hydrangea—or your neighbors’, with permission of course—to celebrate Gardening and Christmas. Kay Reilly provided tips for drying and storing the flowers. If you are drying flowers, the tentative plan is to bring them to our November meeting. You’ll be updated on the specifics closer to our meeting date.

We hope you had a great time at our first meeting and will enjoy our upcoming meetings and events!

See you in October at the Cape May Zoo!

Flower Show Tips—March Meeting Re-Cap!

Jane Bersch—Head Judge, Ocean City Flower Show 

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Our March meeting was yet ANOTHER fantastic session. Jane Bersch, newly appointed Head Judge for the Ocean City Flower Show, provided the attendees with valuable insight, tips, and sage advice on creating YOUR winning entry in the 44th Annual Ocean City Flower ShowIsland Hopping!

When Jane asked for the Schedule, Joanne Romano told her she would go on at 12:30…No, not that…the Schedule. Huh? Well, after translation of Flower Judge language, Jane informed us the SCHEDULE is the name for what we may know as, *Pre-Program/Program. Now informed, we go forward and refer to the above* as, Schedule. At the end of this post, you will find the updated 2016 SCHEDULE! Strong words of advice from Jane—READ IT THOROUGHLY!

As invited/requested/coerced, several Garden Club members brought examples of Artistic Design entries based on Island Hopping, the 2016 Ocean City Flower Show theme. The intent was to have Jane critique these for exhibitors and for anyone interested in design. The experience was informative, educational, and fun for both the entrants and the attendees! Specific recommendations along with the entries appear below. Pictures of the designs can be found on our FLICKR page:

Jane began her presentation by reminding the attendees of the principles/elements one needs to employ as one creates Artistic Design entries.

  • BalanceDoes the entry look sturdy
  • ContrastColors
  • DominanceRepeat something, but do not overwhelm
  • ProportionWhat is the relationship of the amounts of different flowers, foliage
  • ScaleSize, very important especially in miniature entries
  • RhythmLook at the flow of the design
  • Repetitionrepeat the flowers, etc. adhering to all above
  • DepthIs the design 3 dimensional—height, width, depth are very important


  • Less is best
  • Do a dry run
    • Create, walk away and then re-think
  • Squint to see what stands out…Ask yourself, “Is that the effect you want?”

Overall, the judges are looking at how the designer put it all together to create the entry!

Water Viewing Examples

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  • Accessories and bases must help the design
  • For water viewing balance, make sure the container is low-sided with water visible
    • Use anything, even plastic as long as there is rhythm, space
  • FOR ALL PLANTS/FLOWERS: Condition material. Bring home and re-cut

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 9.52.39 AM.pngNote Balance—Jane suggested as one looks at the arrangement, the eye travels to the top Gerbera daisy, which makes the design feel top-heavy. Another note: Gerbera Daisies are hard to work with. They need to be tubed and are unreliable.




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We all loved the lilies…we loved the smell—even those who have allergies! As we learned from the other water viewing arrangements and the general principles, these lilies overwhelmed the container.

So, Rae Jaffe asked Jane how she would suggest improving this arrangement…

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Well, we had the privilege of watching Jane, along with Kay, remove & rearrange the design.

As Jane was re-designing, she emphasized the need to…get rid of pollen inside lilies IMMEDIATELY…They stain!


Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 9.53.23 AMThe design is simple, yet elegant, balanced and surely a Winner!

Everything Green

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  • Mass design—Rule container should be  1/3 the size of the arrangement
  • Make sure you look at all sides and fill the back—Dimension
  • Various green flowers and foliage make this a winner!





  • Pay attention to the size—5″
  • Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 9.53.56 AM Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 9.53.45 AM
  • Proportion is important—more flowers needed in the blue bird container



Unfortunately, there is no picture of the Nantucket Basket arrangement generously submitted by Joan Ferko. Jane cautioned—height should be one and one-half (1 1/2)  times the container. Since the basket had a seashell on the one-side, Jane stated, “…no need to have that.” The Nantucket Basket without embellishment conveys the theme—As in the Tea Tray critique—no cutesy!

Shadow Boxes/Niches

  • Make sure your arrangement creates harmony and everything belongs together.
  • Coordinate your arrangement with color of container

Tea Tray—General Reminder: Do NOT overcrowd the Tea Tray

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What’s wrong with this Tea Tray?

  • Napkin holders are a BIG No-No!
    • Instead—Consider tying the napkin with a ribbon
  • Close eyes, then open, what is the first thing you see: dark flower. This takes away from the overall design. All yellow is enough.
  • Coordinate everything—while tea cup had blue design, it was a different pattern than the teapot. Color alone is not the deciding factor.
  • The sand-filled item flowing from the teapot spout was…well, cutesyBIG no-no…
  • RHYTHM move items closer together to create a line…the end result was a triangle with the napkin angled right, the tea cup in the middle, the teapot moved closer and angled more to the left.

Flowers are the FOCUS—Anything and everything must work with design!

Jane noted not only Artistic Design but Horticulture entries need special attention.

  • Look at the mechanics that holds up or support material. It should be hidden.
  • Can use colored wire, oasis
  • Fruits/vegetables must be sealed
  • Cut specimens in morning or late in evening and re-cut on an angle. Don’t forget to  wipe scissors with alcohol
  • Nothing with any bugs, bug damage
  • Use judicious pruning
  • Cut roses and hydrangeas under water.
    • Rose buds are NOT acceptable entry
    • Hybrid tea roses should be 1/2 to 3/4 open NOT exploded out
    • Rose spray should form a circle
  • Ivy and hosta should be submerged in water to keep fresh
  • Make sure there is symmetry in African Violets & lots of flowers in bloom
  • Fresh herbs—Cut specimens must be identified
    • Turgid must stand up and be noticed
    • Must be fresh
  • Container plant material must be clean
    • Trim any damage
  • Terrariums—may contain 1 or more accessories
  • Fairy Gardens—miniature landscape in open container
  • Planter/Window Box—is NOT a landscape
    • Should be planted 3 months in advance so plants get to know one another
    • Well-spaced
    • Straight standing
    • Colors must work and meld together



As you think, dream, & create your winning design or horticulture entry, please consider placing a Patron Ad. The form is in the Schedule below (can be downloaded) or click on the link to download a copy: PATRON2016

Thanks, in advance, for your support!



Here it is! You have 2 ways to view:

Download a copy here: SCHEDULE2016


Click through the online Issuu below…

November Meeting UPdate!

George Butrus, Linwood Arboretum

The November 3, 2015 meeting was packed with great information about plants and planting on our little island by the sea. Our presenter George Butrus, Linwood Arboretum & Lang’s Garden Center,  shared Seashore Gardening insights, information, and some aha! moments.

George’s Tips! GeorgeButrus

Most of us have had some experience with the after-effects of Hurricane Sandy…the damage a storm can do to our plants. Weather forecasters warn us early enough…so,

George says

  • If you know a storm is coming saturate the ground prior!
  • Pines drop second year needles in the inside in the fall, so don’t worry about the browning…

We need to think about and change our ways of planting. Consider…

  • Red Cedar
  • Native plants
  • Rose of Sharon, hardy Hibiscus—both are salt tolerant
  • Bradford Pears are probably the most over-planted tree along the coast. There is a fungus disease that hits leaves; they are becoming fertile, bearing fruit, and choking out the red cedar! Lang’s Garden Center hasn’t carried them for some time…
  • Impatiens also have suffered from fungus…choose New Guinea Impatiens, instead…
  • Goldenrod
  • Butterfly weed
  • Plant in the FALL; best time for the seashore
  • Use Organic compost, mulch
  • Explore herbs—they love the seashore environment
  • Some of us may like Instant Garden, but…
    • Starting out smaller is better so plant can adapt to new environment
    • Choose a 1-2 gallon vs. 5-7 gallon pot

Crape Murder

Guilty, your honor! While cutting back your Crape Myrtle doesn’t harm it, George has seen many crape myrtles repeatedly cut back to the same spot…thus, producing knuckle-like starting points for the next year’s growth…referred to in the industry as…Crape Murder! So, perhaps, next year you might consider pruning your beautiful Crape Myrtle at a different spot!


CC-BY-SA-3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Have a question about a plant?

Get a smartphone, snap a picture and text it to George!

And finally…Where have all the honey bees gone

  • Growers are using genetically engineered seed to thwart weeds resulting in fewer honey bees…

Informative, inspiring, enjoyable…a perfect way to spend an afternoon. Thanks, George!


October Field Trip!

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 10.35.31 AMScreen Shot 2015-10-23 at 10.38.18 AMThe weather threatened just days before when Hurricane Joaquin swirled in the Atlantic. However, the weather for our October Field Trip to the Linwood Arboretum was…Glorious! A bit warmer than most of us thought with picture perfect, blue skies and bright sunshine!

Sitting in his golf cart, Allen Lacy, provided the background for the creation of the arboretum, as well as, advice for plantings, a call for volunteers, and an invitation to visit in winter, summer, and fall!

After visiting the bog garden, strolling through the beautiful flora and fauna, we headed off to a delicious lunch at Roberta’s…a perfect end to a perfect day!


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September 2015 Meeting Recap!

Our September meeting was filled with new ideas, new ways of doing things, and…new Faces! We are excited to welcome 6 new members to our very, lively group of gardening enthusiasts.

Revised Meetings

We’ve revamped our meetings so presenters will be first up…here are the details…

  • 12 noon to 12:30—Sign in, Lunch, Socialize
  • 12:30 to 1:15—Presenter
  • 1:15 to 1:30—Horticulture & Artistic Design (formerly Little Show)
  • 1:30 to 1:45/2:00 PM—Formal Meeting
  • 2:00 PM—Meeting adjourned

There is some flexibility with the Horticulture & Artistic Design/Formal Meeting segments as you know we are a curious and questioning group. This is what makes our meetings so informative! That said, we want to try to end our meetings by 2:00 PM. Here’s hoping we will leave each meeting filled with information and new and deepening friendships!

Show Me Your Ribbons…

Those who remembered pinned their 2015 winning ribbons and comment cards to foam board. This was just a small way to show…we all have the opportunity to enter and win in the annual Ocean City Flower Show. Of course, Kay Reilly displayed many awards and ribbons. The vases for recognition, the dishes…everything was beautiful and so well deserved. As Kay reminded us all…she entered, learned, and won with no formal background…a model for us all.

Artistic Design

As you know, the Garden Club will decorate one of the Christmas trees in the Atrium of the driedhydrangeaOcean City Free Public Library this December. Many are drying flowers, in particular, hydrangea to celebrate Gardening and Christmas. Kay Reilly brought dried hydrangea and provided tips for drying and storing the flowers. One tip for transport and storage is to place the dried flowers between sheets of tissue paper. Decisions on whether to spray the dried flowers or leave au naturel, and whether to add ribbon are still being discussed. If you are drying flowers, the tentative plan is to bring them to our November meeting. You’ll be updated on the specifics closer to our meeting date.


Donna Halper provided some very interesting information on what most of us thought was a Leafcutterbeesthreat to roses—Leafcutter bees. While they chomp on rose leaves, they do little or no damage to the plant! More information about these beneficial garden visitors can be found on Colorado State University’s website:

Also, download the 2 page Leafcutter bee information here: Leafcutter_Bees

October Field Trip Clarification

You’ve probably heard the old saying, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Well, for our post-Linwood Arboretum Lunch in October lunch, this is literally true! The tour is free, but…when someone asked what was the cost, we believe some may have misinterpreted the response of, “nothing” to mean even lunch was free…Oh, no…below is a clarification that will appear in the revised Yearbook. Your cost for lunch will be whatever you order from the menu, plus tax and tip. Most lunch items are about $12-$13. The Garden Club is NOT paying for your lunch.


10:30 AM—1410 Wabash Avenue, Linwood, NJ
Join us for an informative tour of this almost local horticulture gem.
Meet at Holy Trinity Church 10:15 AM for carpooling.

LunchRoberta’s by Joe Muldoon—1205 Tilton Rd. Suite 12B, Northfield, NJ
Your Cost—Whatever you select from the Menu plus tax & tip!lunchmenu/c5hf

Our new members will receive their Yearbooks at our November meeting. The revised yearbook will be sent via email with instructions on how to carry it with you on your smartphone <grin>.

We hope you had a great time at our first meeting and will enjoy our upcoming meetings and events!




March Meeting—UPDate!

Tea Table Guidelines

Once again, the weather caused us to move our regularly scheduled meeting one week later. While it may have been inconvenient for some, Cherylthe re-scheduled meeting was filled with practical information surrounding the April Tea and Tablescapes. Cheryl Kelchner and Angel Smith guided us through the DOs and DONT’s to ensure a pleasing and creative centerpiece!

DOs & DON’Ts

The use of an undercloth, tablecloth, or placemats works to enhance the tablescape. Choosing the height of the vessel is critical so that everyone seated at the table can see each other and not be hindered by a tall vessel or flowers.

Height Tip

A guideline is to place your arm on the table in a vertical position. Then, bend your wrist so your hand is horizontal. Next, place your chin on the back of your hand. You should be able to see across the table. So, the height of the vessels with flowers should be no higher!


The theme for our tea tables is based on the theme for the 2014 Ocean City Flower Show—O’ FOR A BOOK AND A SHADY NOOK.  Collaborators are asked to choose a book and create an arrangement based on their interpretation of the book. Inspiration, creativity, collaboration, learning, fun, and an afternoon tea—what a wonderful way to spend a Tuesday afternoon!

Centerpiece Designs

Cheryl used posters she had created as guidelines for various arrangements. These posters depicted the shape of the arrangement and the 3 different types of flowers and companions—Lines, Focal, and Filler.

Poster Arrangement Examples









  • As we collaborate on the arrangements, Kay Reilly reminded us to: Spend money on your FLOWERS, not STICKS!
  • Shop the day before the tea, if possible
  • Condition, condition, condition the flowers…this means…Have room temperature water ready; recut the stems under water; let the flowers stay about 6 hrs. before you make your arrangements
  • If putting your flowers in a refrigerator, make sure there are no fruits or vegetables…these give off gases that will cause flowers to brown/wilt
  • Several books on Flower Arranging are available at the Ocean City Free Public Library


  • And, don’t forget Pinterest
    your visual display board. Do a search for flower arranging, flower arrangement, any combination and you will get lots of inspiration!

Ocean City Flower Show Artistic Design 

While we were thinking about our tea tables with an eye toward the Ocean City Flower Show, we all received a copy of the draft of the Artistic Design Division…


Click the link <DRAFTARTISTIC> for your copy and get your creative juices flowing! Seriously consider entering! DRAFTARTISTIC