Garden Club getting ready for spring

Published 8:52 am Thursday, March 10, 2016

Prior to the 1930s, the Eastern Bluebird was one of North Carolina’s most common songbirds.

By 1979, just 40 years later, bluebirds were declared uncommon and rare here. Severe winters and human activities precipitated a 90 percent decline in the bluebird population.

With spring nesting approaching, Bermuda Run Garden Club is encouraging an increase in the bluebird population.

In cooperation with Scott Fallon, groundskeeper for the golf course at Bermuda Run, 10 bluebird houses are being put up in appropriate areas around the golf course. The garden club members will monitor these nesting sites throughout the year.

Members are also installing bluebird houses in their own yards.

In further preparation for spring, club members enjoyed a presentation by Martha Hartley of Old Salem. A preservation planner and staff with Old Salem for 30 years, she provided an illustrated lecture “A Landscape History from Old Salem Gardens”.

“The design ethic of Old Salem gardens has been much influenced by the European roots of the Moravian settlers who established the town of Salem,” she said. “Their medical garden may have been the first design garden in America.”

The kitchen (vegetable) gardens were another element of each home plot. The site for the town was chosen for a south facing slope so plants and gardens could thrive.

Landscape restoration became important in the mid-20th century. For historical authenticity, Old Salem has focused on heirloom plants from before 1850. Conservation practices are an important part of restoration, so weeding by hand, no insecticides, open pollination, crop rotation, manure crops and composting rather than commercial fertilizers, and seed saving are standard.

Old Salem has seed swaps of heirloom plants as an annual event. A botanist has done a flower inventory also because in the 1850s ornamental gardens were added to the typical medical and kitchen gardens.

Following her remarks, Mrs. Hartley presented members with heirloom perennials and Columbine seeds for everyone.

Spring also brings the annual geranium sale by the garden club. Geraniums plants are available in red, hot pink, white, salmon, and violet [deep fuchsia].  The plants are in two sizes: 6.5-inch and 10-inch pots. Plants may be purchased from any club member, or contact Shirley at 336-413-3043  or Betty at 336-671-7725. Purchases must be made by April 4 and checks should be made to Bermuda Run Garden Club. All funds raised go to community projects supported by the club.

The plants will be delivered April 20 in time for spring planting.