Category: Meeting News and Recaps

April 2015 GCOPRF Meeting

April 2015 GCOPRF Meeting

Ted Nyquist:       

Growing Rhododendrons and Azaleas in the Upper Midwest Digital slide presentation 1-1.5 hours: Ted will take you through the steps to selecting, cultural requirements, caring and maintaining these plants. There is no required fee for the presentation. Voluntary donations may be made to The Midwest Chapter American Rhododendron Society


Ted is an avid gardener and with his spouse of fifty years occupy a home in Bartlett, Illinois. The property of nearly seven acres includes four acres comprising the home, pond and gardens. The garden itself, which has been developed over the last twenty five years, is made up of several themed gardens which are connected by venues, gates and paths to form a homogenous viewing experience. Ted completed the Illinois Master Gardener program and was the past President of the Midwest Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society whose geography includes eight states among them Illinois. Ted currently serves of the Board of the Midwest Chapter. Their garden has been featured in articles written in the Chicago Tribune and The Journal of Organic Gardening to name two. There are over 100 Rhododendrons under cultivation.




  March 4, 2015 Garden Club Meeting at Cheney Mansion, 220 Euclid, Oak Park, IL    12:30  meeting      1:00  Speaker

 Guests Welcomed                                          

Kirstin Larson Presents:

Go Wild in Your Garden: The Birds, The Bees, AND The Butterflies!   60 minute PowerPoint presentation,  The average American yard is a wildlife desert, and the natural areas that surround us are constantly shrinking as fields and woods are leveled every year for new housing developments.  But with a few simple steps, you can begin to create an oasis in your yard that will invite in the most amazing guests.  Learn how to help to maintain beautiful migratory birds and butterflies,, and they will reward you by returning year after year, literally bringing your garden to life with their incredible beauty.  Nurturing our troubled bee population is a stewardship task every gardener should embrace.   This presentation will bring together the hot new gardening trends of today: butterfly gardening, planting for pollinators, and backyard birds into one easy-to-follow study of why right now is the time to Go Wild in Your Garden!  Handouts providing detailed information on Native plant recommendations, including what pollinators and birds you might attract in using them.




The violets cometh

The violets cometh

“Surely as cometh the Winter, I know

There are Spring violets under the snow.”

                                   – R.H. Newell

Approximately 18 of us (perhaps the only ones still in town?) got out of our winter torpor and made it over to Cheney on Wednesday for the February meeting.  The speaker was a tad late, apparently not all villages are as diligent about getting the streets plowed as Oak Park, but that just gave us more time to hear Club news.   I believe the odds of winning a door prize were about 3 to 1.  Alas, I was not a flowering plant winner, but I did get to bring home some of the delicious uneaten fruit to share with my chauffeur/husband.


I am not inspired to rehash the Speaker’s talk as I think most of our Garden Club members are veteran plant people and probably have used most of the time tested houseplants that he referred to.   The speaker got his inspiration and photos from Garfield Park Conservatory.  We could also observe the growing conditions in the eight rooms at the Conservatory as a guide for care and placing of our own houseplants.  He remarked that a yellow and green croton at the Conservatory was all green this winter. He reminded us that a variegated leaf has less chlorophyll and may revert to all green if it isn’t getting enough light.   While some plants will indicate their dissatisfaction with the growing conditions, others such as sansevieria and spider plants are not fussy and are practically indestructible.

I will say my favorite houseplants this year are the two large poinsettias that have been showing off their cheerful red colors for almost three months now.  You probably know (but may have forgotten) that the colored “petals” are really bracts and are not the flowers.  The flowers of the plant are the cluster of yellow buds in the center, or cyathia. Poinsettias (named in honor of a US Ambassador to Mexico) were more than a pretty face in their native southern Mexico.  The Aztecs used the milky white sap for fevers and a purple dye was extracted for textiles and cosmetics. The Aztecs referred to the winter-blooming plant as cuetlaxochitl; (its Latin name is Euphorbia pulcherrima or “the most beautiful Euphorbia.”)   In the early 1820’s Joel R. Poinsett spotted the plant south of Mexico City.  He liked the plant so much that he shipped plants to his home in South Carolina for use at Christmas.  An ardent botanist, Poinsett began to propagate more plants in his greenhouses at home and had plants and seeds sent to Col. Robert Carr, who was married to Ann Bartram-Carr, the granddaughter of the famous American nurseryman John Bartram.   Thanks to Col. Carr (and Bartram’s garden) the cultivation and commercial trade of poinsettias was started.  The poinsettia was introduced in June of 1829 at the first Philadelphia Flower show.

Today approximately 80% of the flowering poinsettias were once “little starts” in the Paul Eske Ranch in Encinitas, California.  The Ecke Ranch ships several million cuttings to growers in over 50 countries as well as flowering plants to wholesale outlets in California, Arizona and Nevada.  Poinsettias are the best-selling flowering plant in the US followed by the Easter lily and potted orchids.  More than 34 million poinsettias were sold in 2013.

If you like a challenge, you can get your poinsettia to re-bloom after a dormant period and then a carefully controlled period of light during the autumn.  The color of the bracts is created by a process known as photoperiodism which is basically the plants reaction to the length of light and dark in a 24 hour cycle.  Plants use it to signal seasonal events such as flowering.

News flash:  Japan has a variety of poinsettia known as the pink “Dulce Rosa” that is a spring container plant.  Breeders are also working on new shades of purple and orange poinsettias for the autumn season.

Lethargy be gone!   Flowers shows are on the horizon.  Garden Club has a road trip to the Orchid show later this month.  Lisa has a creative, paint a silk scarf workshop coming in March.  Seed catalogues are arriving.  Jackie Paine told me she has already ordered some plants.  The spring equinox is March 20, 2015.  The spring season brings increasing daylight, warming temperatures and nature’s renewal in the Midwest.

Garden Club to meet February 4

Garden Club to meet February 4

The Garden Club is happy to meet in Oak Park, where the streets and alleys have been plowed.
 The meeting is at Cheney Mansion, 220 N. Euclid at 12:30 p.m. on Wed. Feb. 4th
Our speaker is Mel Zaloudek on the topic of Houseplants – Selection, Care & Feeding. at 1 p.m.
Lovely cyclamens will be the free door prizes this month and light refreshments will be served.
Bring a guest and join your friends for a delightful afternoon. After all, we’re a hardy bunch – a few flakes can’t top us!
Sue Milojevic
Program Chair
Theme: Overlay by Kaira