The Flower Press - - a newsletter of the Lincolnshire Garden Club
March 2009

General Meeting and Program

March 19, 2009

Garden Interest Throughout the Year

Kim Kaulas


Kim has taught a class at the Botanic Gardens on keeping twelve-month interest in your garden. Through slides and discussion she will share her ideas to keep our gardens spectacular all year long.  Kim believes you need to look beyond flowering to foliage, bark, and hardscape to keep an interesting garden.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Time:  9:30 a.m. – Continental Breakfast

9:45 a.m. – Business Meeting

10:15 a.m. – Program

Place:  Vernon Area Public Library

Hospitality Committee:

Kathleen Abdo

Mary Finocchi

Kathleen Young-Perkins

Jan Stefans, Chairwoman

From the President’s Desk

Jan Stefans, President

Your board has been busy these last two months.  We have had lengthy and lively discussions to improve our clubs organizational and financial areas.  It is our hope that these new amendments will make the Treasurer's job easier.  Kathleen Abdo and Meg Zimmerman will revise our by-laws and these new amendments shall be published in the 2009-2010 yearbook.  After reviewing the GCI materials posted on line and also the Garden Glories publication the board feels it is time to discontinue our membership starting June 2009.  Our final change will be implemented in April and is most important to you.  We are going to publish our newsletter electronically starting in April.  With these last two changes our club will be saving approximately $500. 

I am waiting for some warm weather to apply what I learned from Sharon Yiesla regarding pruning.  I was very impressed with her program and can't wait to sharpen up my pruners and loppers to get started implementing all my newly obtained knowledge. I expect I will be forever now be known as the "Edwina Scissorhands "of Lancaster Lane. 


The nominating committee this year was chaired by Kelly Dupont, with other members Cheryl Mitchell, Ellen Strauss, and Kathleen Young-Perkins.  The team met on January 13th to fill the two open Board positions: Treasurer and Vice President Allocations.  We are pleased to present two women to be elected to the Board that have not previously served, Janice Hand as Vice President of Allocations and Kathleen Young-Perkins as Treasurer.  The following Board members have agreed to serve another year in their positions: Jan Stefans, President; Dawn Anderson, Vice President Benefit; Cheryl Mitchell, Vice President Programs; Ellen Strauss, Recording Secretary and Hazel Weaver, Corresponding Secretary.

Following the announcement of the slate at the February general meeting and this newsletter, the vote will be taken at the April general meeting.  The Board will be sworn in at the May luncheon.

We would like to extend a huge thank you to Kathleen Hamilton for her three years as club Treasurer and Eve Jacobs for three years as Vice President of Allocations.  We thank you for your dedication and thoughtful contributions to the Garden Club!



Joan Keyes

Are you tired of white snow, heaps of gray/black snow piles along the roads, leafless brown trees and shrubs, gray skies??? Well here are some antidotes for this malady.

Go outside on a February or March day that is above freezing and take some cuttings of our spring blooming shrubs to force inside. Forsythia is a favorite of mine and it has become my rite of spring. Cut branches no longer than 3 feet, bring inside and put in a container of warm water. Allow the branches to soak up some water and then give a second cut while they are under water. Allow the branches to soak up some water for several hours and now is the time to change the water. Add a floral preservative to the warm water and cut once again under water. Put the container in an area with high humidity and give it plenty of sunshine. And before you know it you will see all those lovely yellow flowers. Sit back and bask in the enjoyment of tricking Mother Nature.

If you do not have Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) in your yard, search out a friend who does. This is among our earliest blooming bulbs and we should begin to see them soon. Find an ample clump just as it is coming up (you may have to brush off some snow) dig it up and put it in a pretty pot in your house. I like to put it somewhere where I will readily see it. You will find it at my kitchen window at my house. Enjoy these little nodding blooms, which have quite a lovely fragrance.

 Now you will have a few weeks of color and life inside as you await the lovely spring colors. But wait; there is an added bonus with your snowdrops! As the blooms start to fade break up the clump into groups of 5 or 6. By this time our soil should be workable so look for a spot in your yard that is free of snow and has a fair amount of sun. They like good drainage and do well planted under deciduous tree and also like dry shade. Plant 5 or 6 bulbs closely together about 2-3 inches deep in the soil. Allow the foliage to die down as is done with other bulbs. Now, not only have you had an opportunity to brighten up your house, but also next spring you can enjoy them even more as you watch them bloom in your yard.


Joan Keyes

It’s the season to begin preparing yourself and your garden for our much- awaited spring. That means, not only sharpening and cleaning garden tools, but also attending to your most important gardening tool-your body.

Couch potatoes arise! It’s time to throw down those wonderful seed catalogues you’ve been reading all winter and design a fitness program to condition all those unused muscles. One of my favorite books is Gardner’s Fitness, Weeding out the Aches and Pains by Barbara Pearlman. Published by Taylor Publishing, 1999. She covers everything from flexibility and stretching; to strengtheners for backs, arms, hands, fingers and knees, as well as cultivating the right moves. No, you should not just read it, but start with a 20 min. session each day.

Once you’ve gotten your fitness routine started, it’s a great time to clean and sharpen other garden tools, all those spades and shovels Take time to inventory what you do have and then plan some trips to our many garden centers to select some new tools that you may not have.

Once your tools and body are conditioned you can really dig into your garden. Before you can begin to work in that glorious dirt, make sure that the soil is dry. If you work it while it is still too wet, you will live with those clumps forever. Take a handful of soil, if it crumbles it is ready to be cultivated. If you are planning a new bed, be sure that you amend the soil before planting. You will have a nice rich soil if you amend with compost, dehydrated manure, and the products that will help break down the clay.

Take time to weed all beds and then put down a 2-inch layer of mulch. If you order mulch by the yard, you can plan on having enough for a 104 sq. ft area per yard. Another way to look at it is that you will have about 7 wheelbarrows full (Heavy duty wheelbarrows) in one yard of mulch.

You’ve been good to yourself and to your garden. Now sit back and enjoy the results of your labors. And if Mother Nature doesn’t give you enough rain, be sure to do a deep watering once a week. Put an empty tuna can in the bed and stop watering when it reaches 2 inches. Your garden will be very happy and so will you—if you kept up with your fitness program.


Cheryl Mitchell

I was given a suggestion recently that I thought sounded interesting, a magazine swap at our general meetings.  If you have gardening magazines that you are finished with, instead of recycling bring them to share and swap at our garden club meetings.  We will give this a try for a few months, starting March19th. 

The magazines will be on a back table. Feel free to browse through and take one you are interested in.  Bring it back the next month when you are done because another gardener may be interested!



Ann Maine

Depke Gardening has had a successful Winter Gardening Program.  In December the boys started paperwhites which they were able to bring home.  In January we made "stained glass" vases, which we used the next week for our experiment of putting white tulips in water and food dye to see how quickly they took up the water.,  One boy even changed water colors after a few hours so he had stripped tulips!  A trip to the green houses of the botanic gardens was a welcome change.  Some of the boys from Mexico enjoyed pointing out cactuses that they knew from their homeland.  They said they were good to eat when fried (but what idn't?)  All of the boys enjoyed seeing the banana plants.  Unfortunately the Botanic Garden no longer has a venus flytrap, so that was a disappointment.

The boys in this group have very green thumbs.  We had our most successful Grocery Gardening project.  All the beans started in papertowels grew well and even some of the apple seeds sprouted.  last week they made terrariums.  Even the least enthusiastic gardener enjoyed himself, deciding where to put his plants, being careful to not overwater (a constant problem) and selectin which shells or plastic animals to use for decorations.


Chairwoman Eve Jacobs

The Allocations Committee met on January 29, 2009.  Present and voting were Dawn Anderson, Kathleen Hamilton, Eve Jacobs, Mary Spiewak and Meg Zimmerman.  On Thursday, February 5, 2009 the Board has approved the following proposed Allocations for 2009.  The general membership will vote on this proposal at the March 19th General Meeting and the monies distributed at the April 16th meeting.

Depke Juvenile Center   $700   Planting a Butterfly Garden with the boys at the center.  Includes plants, compost, landscape spikes, netting, sand, stones and timber.

Daniel Wright Junior High   $600   Recycling project to encourage recycling behavior and provide a cleaner and safer school environment.  5 recycling collection containers and dollies to roll them on.

Habitat for Humanity  $200  “Gardening Together Program”  Enhancing common areas around pond with native plant materials in the Carter Crossing subdivision.  Working with 23 families to provide instructional sessions including care of native plantings.  Project is partnering with Cooperative Extension for instruction and assistance. along with volunteers and Eagle Scout.

Half Day School   $800  Student Council Green Project – students have raised $800 towards this project by selling GreenSaks last spring.   5 - 2.5” Acer “Autumn Blaze” trees to be planted near playground equipment to provide shade. Total cost $1875.

Lake County Forest Preserve – Ryerson Woods  $500   Redesign the front beds and install new native flowering plants that will create a more inviting entrance to the Welcome Center at Ryerson Woods.  Club to be recognized as project partner on i.d. guide and plaque placed on bed.

Riverside Foundation  $500   Expansion of the Late Summer & Autumn Garden that was installed Fall 2008.  Includes plants, French drain and shipping costs.

University of Illinois Extension  $700  Digital Projector & Wireless Presenter for PowerPoint presentations given by the Master Gardener’s Speaker’s Bureau who provide educational horticulture programs to garden clubs and other interested groups in Lake County.

2009 Allocations Grand Total $4000


Starting Dahlia Tubers Indoors

by Kathleen Young-Perkins

Chicago dahlia lovers prefer to start their outdoor growing season with plants rather than tubers so that they can enjoy earlier blooms.  Unlike tubers, the plants have a fully developed root system and can begin growing immediately when planted out after the last frost.  Starting tubers indoors requires the same basic things used for growing seedlings: a reasonably warm room or basement, fluorescent lights and shelving.

The time to start putting your over wintered tubers into pots is about April 1 which should result in a plant eight to ten inches tall that can be planted outdoors in the middle or end of May.  If you would like to take cuttings from the sprouting tubers, well worth the effort if you have expensive/new introduction varieties, you can start your tubers as early as March 1.

The dahlia tuber looks similar to a small sweet potato, but can vary widely in appearance depending on the type.  Typically there is an expanded, fleshy portion called the body.  At the tip is a thin segment referred to as the neck.  The bulging at the end of the neck that is (or was if you divided your tubers in the fall) attached to the stalk of the mother plant is called the crown.  The eye of the tuber, from which growth will develop, will always be found on the crown, never on the neck or body of the tuber.  This center grows into a linear stem-like structure, or shoot.  As the eye begins to grow, the shoot may vary in color from a dark purple-red to a light green.  Prior to development, the eye may appear as a small bump or even a depression in the crown.  More than one eye may be present on the crown.  If there is no eye, the tuber is “blind” and will not produce a plant.

Start your tubers in pots large enough to hold them horizontally with their crowns about one half inch below the soil surface and their eye(s) pointing upwards.  To cover the tubers use moistened but not wet or saturated potting soil.  Place a cover of aluminum foil over the container to prevent moisture loss.  If you don’t have a heating mat, put the pot in a warm area such as the top of a refrigerator or by the water heater to give the tuber an opportunity to begin forming roots and producing shoots.  The tuber does not need light at this stage to grow.

Every couple of days, lift the cover off the pots and study the surface of the soil for emerging shoots.  Don’t get discouraged!  Some tubers take longer than others to awaken from their winter slumber.  There is natural tendency to want to water the tuber more and more, thinking that is what it must need to produce a growing sprout.  But this will only result in a soaked tuber that is most likely to rot.

After the tuber has sprouted, remove the foil covering, and provide your new plant with a light watering.  Place the container under fluorescent lights, one to two inches above the sprout.  To stimulate growth, implement an eighteen-hour light - six-hour darkness cycle.  A plug-in power timer is highly recommended to make this manageable.  As the sprout grows and forms leaves, water with care as the soil dries.

During this early development, two root systems will form.  One, the fibrous roots, will grow off of the body of the tuber.  These will absorb water to initially feed the tuber and the plant, but will dry up and disappear in several weeks.  The second, the tuberous roots, will grow from the base of the plant and become the primary roots that will support the plant, take in nutrients, and produce tubers during the summer.

The indoor-grown tender dahlia plants, just like seedlings, need to be acclimated to the outdoors by gradually moving their pots from a few days in a shaded area to a few hours of morning sun to longer hours of sun exposure.  Store them in the garage at night to condition them to cooler temperatures.  After three to five days, they can be planted in a full sun location, with rich, well-draining soil, good wind protection and adequate air circulation.  Taller varieties (greater than 2 feet) require the support of stakes to flourish.

One of the most entertaining aspects of growing dahlias is anticipating the blooms.  Rarely, if ever, do they disappoint.  Their best use is interspersed through the fabric of a varied garden of perennials and annuals where their absence of color goes unnoticed in the early part of summer.  By the middle to end of July they will begin to flaunt their brilliance and continue blooming until the frost.


Calendar Corner


March 5                       Board Meeting – 9:15 a.m. – Village Hall


March 19                     General Meeting – 9:30 a.m. – Vernon Area Public Library


April  9                                    Board Meeting – 9:15 a.m. – Village Hall


April 16                       General Meeting  and Allocations Presentation – 9:30 – Vernon Area Public Library


May 7                          Board Meeting – 9:15 a.m. – Village Hall


May 21                                    Annual Spring Luncheon




In an effort to be fiscally and environmentally responsible, the board approved a motion to deliver the newsletter via email.  Thus, this will be the last paper version of The Flower Press.  Future issues will be sent to the email address that Jan uses for global notices.  If you would prefer a different email address, please email me ( that address.  For those of you without email, we will mail you a print version.































 The Flower Press

Jeanne Top, Editor

14532 River Oaks Drive

Lincolnshire, IL   60069