President’s Message – Fall 2017

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

President’s Message – Fall 2017

Meetings are held at the Atlanta History Center’s Woodruff Auditorium in McElreath Hall

Fall Greetings Hydrangeaphiles!

We hope that you all enjoyed our 23rd annual June AHS Garden Tour! I would like to extend a huge heartfelt thank you to our 2017 garden hosts and AHS members: Jennifer and Bill Petritz; Janet and Gale Sights; Melinda and Larry Mischik; Marianne and Joe Baumgartner; and Lee and Mike Dunn for graciously sharing their beautiful gardens with us. Dörte Wohmann-Schmieta and Scott Grosse did an amazing job selecting these fabulous gardens. Each distinctive garden had a unique style displaying our favorite hydrangeas. In addition, I would also like to thank the many members who were docents during the tour. Our tours would not be the same without our docents. A very special Thank You to Eva Kinney for her masterful efforts in coordinating all the docents for the tour. Members, please sign up now to reserve a docent spot with Eva Kinney, so that next June you can be a docent too!  Remember as a docent, you are invited to the pre-tour party and you will be able to tour the gardens on the special Host/Docent only day!
We are all very grateful for Dörte and Scott’s hard work putting our wonderful garden tours together. Happily, we can now report that the gardens have already been selected for our next AHS tour on Saturday, June 9, 2018! This will be another special day of hydrangea and garden idea filled gardens!  Be sure to “Save the date!” You will not want to miss our 24th annual AHS tour!

Now, while you have your calendars out, be sure to save Monday, October 23, 2017. 7:00 PM Hospitality and raffle ticket purchases, then 7:30 PM for the lecture at the History Center for our very special Fall meeting when Robert Mallet, the curator of The Shamrock Collection, the largest hydrangea collection in the world in Normandy, France, will be our speaker! You do not want to miss our next meeting. Robert Mallet is one of the world’s foremost authorities on hydrangeas. Come be inspired by his wonderful lecture and photos.

Another special treat that evening after Robert Mallet speaks will be our legendary plant raffle. Our October 23rd raffle will be the biggest and best plant raffle we have ever offered, because the famous Dr. Michael Dirr will be attending to hear Robert Mallet and he has promised to bring us many very special and rare plants from his extensive private collection. In addition, Natalia Hamill from Baileynursery.com, grower of ‘Endless Summer’ fame will also be attending our meeting and she will be sending ten ‘Bloomstruck’ and ten ‘Twist and Shout’ plants for our raffle.  In addition to our usual special plants from our wonderful nurseries and tour supporters we will also have plants from Hillary Thompson of CuttingEdgePlants.com. Please come early to buy plenty of raffle tickets. This raffle will be the “motherlode” of raffles.
Please be advised that our H. macrophylla pruning “cut-off” date, (no pun intended,) was August 1st. Remember it is always better not to prune at all than prune too late, inadvertently pruning off any viable buds that would be your flowers next Spring! Your plants need to harden off and set buds for next year.

This Spring and Summer provided record rainfall which provided much lush, green growth, but also provided the “perfect” environment for the dreaded fungus, Cercospora which is the result of water either from rainfall or irrigation on the leaves when the sun on the wet leaves creates the “measles” spots on the leaves. Some cultivars are more susceptible to Cercospora than others. This unsightly condition is more cosmetic rather than detrimental to the plant.
In normal rainfall years, just set your irrigation to start watering around 4:00 am on the proper watering day according to your county’s water restrictions so that the foliage will be dry by the time the sun hits the leaves etc. Remember to top dress your plants with plenty of compost in January. Please be advised to check your plants carefully looking for ambrosia beetle. This rude awakening just happened to me. Unfortunately, I will be removing three mature thirty-one year old crepe myrtles that have been attacked by the dreaded ambrosia beetle. My stand of H. paniculata ‘Tardiva’ are right there next to the crepe myrtles, so hopefully they do not have ambrosia beetle as well! Check your plants for tiny pinholes with little tiny toothpick projections coming from out of the holes. Rather than getting upset, I think of it as a new gardening/landscaping opportunity!

We look forward to seeing you on Monday, October 23, 2017.

7:00 PM Hospitality and raffle ticket purchases
7:30 PM Robert Mallet lecture
Plant raffle to follow lecture

We look forward to seeing you! Please plan to join us!

Happy Gardening,

Gloria Ward
AHS President

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