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Nov /Dec 2019

Leaves No.  168                                                                                 

Elizabeth Dowd, Editor


President’s Message                                                           

Andrea Boyar, President

Welcome all to our November Newsletter!

Some seasonal ideas and reading:

If you haven’t already done so, it is time to bring your houseplants into the warmth of your home for the winter. The guideline is two weeks before our frost date. Our risk of frost is from October 25th through April 18th . Remove debris and dead blooms, add potting soil, water, and place in a sunny window. For a more thorough set of guidelines see

The first task most gardeners consider when preparing the garden for winter is

cutting back perennials. While cutting everything to the ground may give the garden a tidy look, it does a disservice to wildlife species that can make use of some plants in the winter. Leaving perennial seed heads provides natural foraging habitat for native wildlife. In the winter months when food is scarce, gardens full of withered fruit and dried seed heads can provide birds with a reliable food source. Seed-eating songbirds such as finches, sparrows, chickadees, juncos, and jays will make use of many common garden plants. When cleaning up the garden, prioritize removing and discarding diseased top growth, but leave healthy seed heads standing.

Overwintering Dahlias from dahlia-flowers/7125.html.  “Dahlias are tender annuals, but you can overwinter them pretty easily. In fall, after the first frost has blackened the foliage, cut off all but 2 to 4 inches of top growth, and carefully dig tubers without damaging them. Allow tubers to dry for a few days in a frost-free location, out of direct sunlight. Once dried, remove any excess soil, leaving 1 to 2 inches of stem. Store each clump of tubers in a ventilated box or basket. Fill the box with slightly moistened sand, peat moss or vermiculite and place it in a cool, dry location with temperatures that remain between 45 and 55 degrees F. Check tubers periodically through winter for rotting and drying out. If the tubers

appear shriveled, mist them lightly with water. If any start to rot, trim the rotted portion of the clump so it won’t spread. The tubers are fragile, so be careful when handling them. When warm weather arrives, you can plant the overwintered tubers and begin the cycle again.” 

Need to plant a tree? Here are some guidelines from Doug Tallamy, professor of

Entomology at the University of Delaware and author of Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants and Nature's Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your YardTallamy says we should plant native black walnut trees provide lots of food for breeding and migratory birds. The native redbud provides food for songbirds. Plant an oak which support 557 species of caterpillars important bird food, instead of a Ginkgo which support no caterpillar species. “Instead of Zelkova, which supports zero caterpillars, plant a black cherry, which supports 456 species. Instead of Pieris Japonica, which also supports zero caterpillars, plant a native viburnum that supports 105 caterpillar species.” 

Looking forward to seeing you all on Thursday, Nov 7th at our Annual Fall Luncheon at Orienta and on December 9th for our Holiday table decoration workshop at Larchmont Avenue Church.  Greetings to all our members!



Things to do now:

As you clean up the fall leaves from your yards, consider using a mulching mower rather than bagging them or leaving them on the street for town pickup.  If you or your gardeners don’t have a mulching mower, leaves should be removed from the lawn so they don’t smother the grass.   They can be used as mulch in the garden beds or added to your compost pile.  If using them as mulch make sure they are loosely packed and allow for air to get through to the plant root system.

If your perennials were less vigorous than usual this season, it may be time to divide and transplant them.  This is best done about six weeks before the ground freezes so there is still a short window!

With the warm weather we have been experiencing this fall, we still have time for planting spring bulbs before the ground freezes     Daffodils, hyacinth, allium and grape hyacinth all seem to be of less interest to the squirrels and deer.  Remember that these are early bloomers so we do not have to be as diligent about planting them in the sunniest spots as with later blooms. While bulbs do not require much fertilizer, a bit of bone meal is a helpful addition to the soil as you plant them.  This is also the time to start amaryllis and paper whites for holiday gifts.  If you would like Nedra Gillette’s helpful hints about Paper Whites from last year, let me know and I will forward them to you.

As we get ready for the colder weather remember our feathered friends and keep your feeders and bird baths full.  The activity is fun to watch and the impact on the local environment and gardens is important.  As our speaker from last month pointed out, Cayenne pepper really does keep the squirrels away from the feeders.  Spread it on the ground as well to keep them away from the seed enjoyed by the ground feeders such as the mourning doves.

One final, interesting note -- the current issue of the Gazebo Gazette, the newsletter of the Larchmont Historical Society, features a look at the accomplishments of   resident Emily Earle Linsley.  Linsley was an early champion of women’s issues and is thought to be the first woman to have voted under the Suffrage Act in Larchmont – interesting thought as today is Election Day and we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage!   Linsley and her good friend Helena Flint were both gardeners and founded the Garden Club of Larchmont in 1913 with the goal of teaching children how to make gardens and encouraging members to send flowers and vegetables to the sick.

Upcoming Programs and Workshops:

Our Annual Fall Luncheon will take place Thursday, November 7th at 11:30 am at the Orienta Beach Club.  Our featured speaker will be local floral designer Stephanie Piccone.   Stephanie will prepare three arrangements which we will then raffle off.  We will also have a 50/50 raffle and a raffle for a $100 gift certificate for Lenny’s Steakhouse in Larchmont.  Come and support our Club!

Our Holiday Workshop will take place at the Larchmont Avenue Church on December 4, with our general meeting starting at 12 noon.  After our general meeting, we will have a soup lunch and begin our workshop at around 1pm.   

The theme of the workshop is “Dressing your Table”!  It’s the current “hot”movement to  “tablescapes”. Simply put, it’s the idea of moving from a single centerpiece to a design that makes the eye flow along the whole table and even the entire room.

Mary Lynn McRee from the Chapaqua Garden Club will lead us as we learn about this “hot” concept by making an evergreen table runner.  Bring your gloves and clippers and any small decorations you want to include in your table runner.   And we’ll show how to move it through the entire holiday season! And we’ll have FUN!

Ms. McRee has been designing with flowers for almost 30 years.   She holds a certificate in floral design from the New York Botanical Garden.

Camille and Geri have organized a wonderful array of soups and other treats for the event.  Reminders will be sent to those who volunteered to provide refreshments as we get closer to the date.  Please let Camille or Geri know if you have dietary restrictions so we can be sure to provide a dish to accommodate your needs.  This year, as usual, we will also be making tray favors for Meals On Wheels recipients.   Please make your reservations as soon as you can (Nov. 18 deadline).  Fill out the form below and return it with your payment to Meg Vieb-Heith, 91 Valley Terrace, Rye Brook, NY  10573. 

We look forward to seeing you there.  Also, please think about who you can invite to join this fun afternoon.  Our workshops are a great opportunity to introduce friends to our club and let them see firsthand some of the things we do as a group and for our community. 

As always, we will not have a Club Day in January. I hope you all enjoy the winter months and for many of you, your getaways!   See you in February.


 Please reserve _____ (# spaces) for me and my guests.  I enclose a check covering costs of $20 for members, $25 for guests.  (Lunch is free of course.)


Signed:__________________                            Phone:_________________