Local landscape artist talks plants to El Martes Flower Club

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 14, 2015

“Earth laughs in flowers.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

What a wonderful thought as spring approaches and what better speaker for El Martes Flower Club’s February meeting than Jerry Howell, Andalusia landscape artist. Jerry presented the what and how to crafting plants in pots. His presentation placed emphasis on the choice of plants, size of pots, and the use of plants that work for you. He stressed important essentials such as making sure there is a hole in the bottom of the pot for proper drainage, using a plastic pot within the container for easy watering, and using good potting soil (Metro Mix).

When beginning a project, Mr. Howell encouraged lining the bottom of a pot with broken gravel, pinecones, or crushed soda cans to help with proper drainage. This is followed with a quality potting soil, choice of plants, and mulch and topped with deer moss.

Choice of flowers may be determined by season, placement of pot, and flower favorites. For pots that are to be in shady areas he suggested succulents and shade-loving annuals; for controlled sun, vinca, begonias, petunias, angelonia, and snap dragons. He suggested that one should consider a good mix of size, color and growth time for variety and to offer the assurance that “something will be blooming” at all times. He encouraged the use of herbs for a pot garden.

Much of his talk was on the watering process. He stressed that more damage is done with too much water than not enough. Check to see if the soil is damp. If so, wait to water when the soil is just beginning to dry out. Time-release fertilizer, such as Osmocote, can be applied as directed by the manufacturer. Some of the biggest mistakes that a gardener can do according to Jerry are: using pots or hanging baskets that are too small and watering too much. He suggested trimming or cutting back flowers to encourage better blooming and growth.

Following Mr. Howell’s talk, the group was given a period of time for a question and answer session.

Delicious desserts of homemade pound cake, fresh strawberries, salty nuts and finger sandwiches were served. The meeting room was decorated with a variety of fresh flowers on each table, as well as, the serving table.

The February hostesses were Faye Enzor, Betty Johnson, and Sheila Williams. The refreshments and program were followed by a business meeting with president, Barbara Nichols presiding. The group welcomed new members, Nancy Boldog and Barbara Sue Wells.

A slate of officers for 2015-2017 was unanimously accepted. The new officers are: Melissa Gambill, president; Sheila Wilson, vice president; Sandra Proctor, secretary; Pat Stewart, treasurer; and parliamentarian, Barbara Nichols. The group also voted Jerry Stroud and Katy Sue Wells to serve as co-chairman for the El Martes Flower Show held annually during the Kiwanis Covington County Fair.