Carol Beckius presented a program “Herbs and Landscapes” to members of Meek’s Mill Garden Club (MMGC) in Constantine on Tuesday (March 12). Beckius is an Advanced Master Gardener and has served on the board of the Michigan Garden Club for six years – four as District III director and two as 2nd vice president. Four guests who are Advanced Master Gardeners attended the meeting: Barb Bendure, Marie Mann, and Nancy and James Connor.
Beckius said there is no clear-cut classification of herbs. It is a term used to describe a group of plants with useful properties. “I absolutely love growing and experimenting with herbs. I never used sage in dressing until I grew my own,” she said.
“In general herbs prefer full sun (5-6 hours a day) but do well with less. They like adequate water, but many handle dry conditions very well. They do not require fertilizer but I often give it to those that look like they need a boost.”
The best time to pick herbs is just after the morning dew has dried. Essential oils lose their quality when exposed to heat. Wash herbs and dry on racks or tie in bunches, and hang out of direct sunlight until thoroughly dry, about a week. Be careful not to crush the herbs. Crush them when you use them to get the full flavor or aroma.”
“Lavendula (lavender) is one of my favorites. Plant it by your roses. It attracts bees and repels bugs,” she said. “Women sewed lavender in hems of dresses to keep moths from destroying the cloth.”
Beckius said prune lavender (a third) in the fall, and it loves dry soil because it originated in a dry corner of the world.
She gave MMGC members a list of herbs that work well in landscaping, and a list of herbs she has grown. Members discussed each herb, offering comments and “tips.”
Barb Bendure gave a tip on successfully growing Oriental poppies. “Poppies have a long root and do not transplant well. I researched it and found the seeds like the cold. I sprinkle poppy seeds on the snow, and they germinate in the spring,” Bendure said.
A business meeting was held following the program.
Kathy Messner gave a report on the upcoming flower show, “Grandma’s Garden.” It will be a small, standard judged show on July 24, held at the Farmer’s Market in Constantine. Messner also designed new MMGC flyers to give to prospective members. Becky Dodd gave a presentation of a “line flower design” to the club. In addition, she did a display on flower design. A committee of Betty Richards, Jinny Tavernier and Vicky Roberts will discuss plans to put flowers in the downtown planters, with Mary Jo Sprunger of the Potting Shed.
St. Patrick’s Day refreshments were served by hostesses Norma Moord and Diane Howard.
The next MMGC meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9 at the United Methodist Church in Constantine. Two new officers will be installed: Claudene Holtz, Secretary and Ricci Murphy, 2nd Vice President. The members will have a potluck. For more information on MMGC call (269) 435-6315.
Source: Story and photo contributed by Angie Birdsall.