Have you noticed the beautiful flowers all over Natick Center, including the planters on the pedestrian bridge over the train tracks? These colorful outdoor planters, as well as the pollinator garden in front of Morse library and the library’s indoor plants, are the result of the hard work of the Natick Garden Club.
The Natick Garden Club is responsible for planting a total of 41 containers year-round. Club members come up with the designs and, in partnership with the Natick Center Cultural District, purchase the plants from Bacon Street Farm and Fran’s Flowers.
The club is a group of enthusiastic gardeners who are passionate about beautifying our community and sharing their love of plants. It was organized about 20 years ago and has approximately 80 members (the group is very open to new members).
The club meets monthly September through May to learn from each other and from guest speakers. Meetings are held in the evenings, to include members who work. A former President of the Natick Garden Club and one of its founding members, Elizabeth Carroll, describes the group as not your traditional “white-gloves Garden Club”, but a very hands-on group for all gardeners.
A highlight of the Club’s year is the annual auction fundraiser, during which it auctions off flower plants and vegetable seedlings from members’ own gardens. Proceeds from the auction fund various civic projects, including a scholarship for graduating seniors from Natick High School. The club also participates in Earth Day and Natick Days.
Summer activities include end-of-the year party, a trip to a u-pick tulip field in Rhode Island, and informal meetings in each other's gardens.
One of the perks of club membership is getting advice from fellow gardeners. For this blog story, I’ve asked Elizabeth Carroll to answer some questions from the Natick Moms’ Facebook group and she graciously agreed.
Q: How can I leave water out for butterflies and birds without attracting mosquitoes?
A: If you change the water every few days it will prevent the larvae from developing. You can dump the old water into your garden and water your plants.
Q: Is there a way to get rid of lily of the valley without digging them up individually?
A: One idea is in the early Spring cover it with layers of newspaper and then mulch over it. Leave it for a year. Next Spring dig up the old roots. It’s worth a try!
Q: How to prune lilacs so the blossoms aren’t all the way at the top of the tall bush.
A: Lilacs like sun so make sure your lilacs are getting 6 hours of sun a day. Prune after they bloom in the spring, no later than that.
Q: My garden is being decimated by bunnies...other than fencing how to keep them from eating my flowers? I sometimes put red pepper around plants but it’s not foolproof.
A: There are various spray repellents on the market. You need to reapply otherwise they will start eating again.
Q:We planted three hydrangeas and they are looking really sad. Any way to bring them back to life?
Q:Why won’t my hydrangea bloom? Hasn’t since I moved in 7 years ago.
One of the biggest causes of hydrangeas not blooming is aggressive pruning. Wait until late Spring when you can see what is dead wood and only prune the dead wood. Unfortunately if we get very cold temperatures in the winter and early Spring that can destroy the forming buds also.