President’s Letter – Winter 2024
Happy New Year! I hope that you’ve come through the excitement and busyness of the holiday season and are ready, like me, to turn your attention back to the garden. Winter is always one of my favorite parts of the gardening year. We are blessed here in the Southeast with a relatively mild and temperate climate that affords us some winter blooming plants that are quite showy. Winter is also a great time of year for garden planning as the mailbox (both the physical mailbox and the email inbox) get inundated with seed and plant catalogs. I purchased a tree peony on New Years Day that won’t be shipped until September, how is that for planning ahead? Of course, now I must figure out to where to plant it when it does arrive!
One of the best ways to start planning out the garden is to attend AHS meetings where you can hear from horticultural experts. We will kick off our first meeting of 2024 on February 26th, at 7PM at McElreath Hall at the Atlanta History Center. Our speaker will be Ted Stephens, the founder of Nurseries Caroliniana. I remember visiting Nurseries Caroliniana as a young gardener working at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. I was sent with a couple of co-workers to pick up some plants for the garden and Ted met with us and gave us a tour. I was completely blown away with the variety of plants that Ted was growing, especially his Osmanthus collections. I’ve been back to the nursery several times since that initial visit and its never failed to amaze. I will be interested to hear what Ted is up to now that he’s retired from the retail side of the business. I have no doubt he will be telling us about some amazing companion plants for our hydrangeas.
Plans are moving ahead for our annual AHS Garden Tour on Saturday, June 8th from 9AM to 5PM. This year’s tour will bring us back to North Atlanta, to the Roswell, Marietta, and Canton areas. Mark your calendars now, because our tour chairs have given us the word that these five gardens are stunning! I know I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but I just have to say that local garden tours are the absolute best way to see what plants will grow well for you in your garden. Tours are also helpful for getting design ideas, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery after all! I had a fence installed at my garden this past fall, the design was a direct copy of a fence that I saw on a garden tour.
There is a lot to look forward to at AHS in 2024, I hope you’ll join us and invite along a friend. As always, our meetings are free and open to the public. Let’s cross our fingers for a normalish winter and early spring so we can have bountiful hydrangea blooms this summer. We are due for a good hydrangea year, aren’t we?
With dirty hands and a full heart,