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Feb 16, 2022

Shrewsbury Garden Club Beats the Winter Blues

By Lori Draz and Rachel Weston of the Shrewsbury Garden Club

It takes a little more than the winter’s cold to deter local gardeners. They just turn their attention indoors where they have lots of ways to enjoy flowers and greenery. Shrewsbury Garden Club (SGC) members and Sunrise Senior Living residents explored floral design at a workshop held late last year. Using a mason jar as a vessel, participants arranged numerous materials such as branches clipped from members yards and bunches of flowers purchased at a local grocery store. It’s a fun wintertime activity. Buy some blooms and experiment arranging them in different vessels like a teapot, trophy cup, jam jars or other household items. Forcing bulbs, like hyacinths and tulips, is another satisfying and incredibly easy winter activity. Simply pot any of these bulbs, give them a drink and sit back. You’ll be delighted with some showy blooms in a few short weeks. 

Creating a lush, indoor oasis of greenery with houseplants is another excellent winter pursuit. Visit one of the local greenhouses such as Dearborn Market in Holmdel, Guaranteed Plants & Florist in Locust or Sickles Market in Little Silver to select a plant that is right for your growing conditions. The amount of light in a particular room should be your guide for the best types of plants. Also consider your dedication level. Some plants are troopers and can handle infrequent watering, while others will pout and drop leaves if everything isn’t quite to their liking. Plants to try in low light include birds nest fern, ZZ plant, snake plant or parlor palm. In bright light conditions, opt for monstera, citrus trees or cactus. Flowering houseplants that are readily available at this time of year include cyclamen, African violets, peace lily and kalanchoe. Orchids are stunning and well worth the additional effort to grow them successfully. 

Plan on doing some remote learning when Angela Juffey, of Rutgers Master Gardeners of Monmouth County, makes her Zoom presentation at the SGC’s Tuesday, Feb. 15 meeting at 6 pm. “Terrariums: Gardens In Glass” will teach you about the origin of terrariums and techniques for creating your own. Learn about open and closed terrariums and succulent terrariums as well as plants that live in harmony. After Juffey retired from teaching, she began beekeeping and is presently the secretary of the Central Jersey Beekeepers Association. She provides invaluable education on honey bees and pollinators. To receive a link to the free Zoom presentation, email shrewsburygardenclub@gmail.com. 

The Monmouth County Library and Rutgers Master Gardeners of Monmouth County presents “Creating a Certified Wildlife Habitat: A Virtual Program from NJ Audubon” on Wednesday, Feb. 16 at 10:30 am. For the Zoom link, call Programming at 732-431-7220, ext. 7222 or email mcl@monmouthcountylib.org. More upcoming events are listed at MonmouthCountyLib.org. 

This month, Rutgers Master Gardeners of Monmouth County welcomes you to attend these free educational and inspiring horticultural Coffee Talks programs each Saturday morning at 9:30 am:

On Feb. 19, it’s Native Grasses for New Jersey Landscapes. Register at tinyurl.com/NativeGrassCoffeeTalk.

On Feb. 26, it’s Natural Born Killers, Body Snatchers and the Crawling Dead: A Mind-Blowing Look at Beneficial Insects. Register at tinyurl.com/BeneficialInsectsCoffeeTalk. 

Serious gardeners can dig deep into garden knowledge on Feb. 26 when Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education presents the 2022 Home Gardeners School @Home conference online via Zoom. There will be a keynote presentation, Garden Jeopardy and 15 other individual workshop sessions you can select to attend. Registration for the conference is $80. For more information, visit cpe.rutgers.edu/HGSatHome.

Before you know it, the days will be longer and warmer. Until then, cozy up, and expand your knowledge about gardening. Shrewsbury Garden Club is always open to new members and to answer garden questions. For more information on membership or programs, visit ShrewsburyGC.com or email shrewsburygardenclub@gmail.com.