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News from the Kimberley Garden Club

A lot of people turned to gardening during the pandemic

Submitted by Marilee Quist

A lot of things have changed since the coronovirus hit the world, including the cessation of meetings of many of Kimberley’s clubs and organizations, as well as the Kimberley Garden Club. Most of our members have been busy planting new gardens, changing older gardens and generally having a good time playing in the dirt. I had heard that earlier this summer that Top Crop in Cranbrook sold out most of their plant stock to people who decided gardening was a healthy way to occupy themselves. I had a bed of willows that weren’t doing well so they got replaced with two different varieties of Ninebark, a Mock Orange and an Elderberry. Once this new bed was mulched and large rocks and semi-weathered garden frogs were added, it looked rather whimsical. We smile when we look at it and now call it the “Whimsy Bed”. Over the years, we have found that by naming the beds, it’s easier to remember just which bed of the 15 beds we are talking about.

The Garden Club had to cancel our annual plant sale this year, much to the dismay of members who had decided to divide plants and tidy up their garden beds. We have been sharing our “extras” with members who are just starting gardens in Kimberley, and so far, it’s working very well. I had an abundance of self-seeded lavender plants and seedlings that I have given away, as well as some bearded iris.

This spring, I discovered that I had a bumper crop of snapdragons – either I didn’t deadhead the plants last fall (very likely) or they decided to come back all by themselves – a possibility. I decided that last fall’s decision to broadcast poppy seeds in two of my beds was not a good idea – in places, I couldn’t see the ground through the poppy stems and leaves, so as the seed pods ripen this year, I am cutting them off and saving the seeds to judiciously sow seeds for next year’s poppies in late September. I have also tried sowing the seeds in spring once the snow is gone, and that worked too.

Several of our members with older gardens have been doing a lot of moving and dividing of plants that have outgrown their space. Most of the plants have gone to garden club members. Any of my extras, I have been taking to the Kimberley Edible Gardens and Greenhouse. Every time I go up to the Greenhouse, I am amazed at the changes – enlarged growing beds, the more tender plants in the greenhouse, and the volunteers and members busy working in the beds and sometimes harvesting ready-to-eat vegetables..

We had a small gathering of members in July, and toured two gardens then mostly just caught up with what’s happening in our collective gardens and lives; we had another tour and visit in August, and are planning on something similar for September. We’re not sure when we will be able to meet again as a full group, or where we might meet, but whenever and wherever we do meet, I’m sure we will all be happy to be back together and will be busy catching up.

I finally finished digging up and moving plants to new deer-free locations and everything seems happy. The Red Russian garlic I planted last fall has been harvested and has already been tested in two or three meals – yummy! I will buy a few more heads of Red Russian garlic to make sure I have enough for planting for next year’s crop.

While I was doing some weeding about a month ago, in a bed with large rocks holding up the soil bank toward the lawn, I noticed something moving. It turned out to be a Western Garter Snake. A few days ago, I was in the same area, and found not only what seemed to be a couple of adult snakes but also what looked like several very recently hatched juveniles. I was fascinated.

The Kimberley Garden Club hopes that many local residents discovered the joy of gardening this summer, enjoyed it and kept themselves safe and healthy. We wish everyone a healthy, happy fall. We have been lucky in Kimberley and Cranbrook to have few, if any outbreaks of coronovirus.

Submitted September 7, 2020

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