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Jun 17, 2021

Shrewsbury Garden Club Keeps Busy This Summer

By Lori Draz

It was easy to tell that many people have spent time in May with gardening on their minds. After months of poring over catalogs, dreaming, and sketching, the public turned up in impressive numbers for the annual Shrewsbury Garden Club’s spring plant sale. Proceeds from this sale are used to maintain the public gardens around the Shrewsbury Borough municipal complex. All orders for geraniums and other annual spring flowers will keep Shrewsbury beautiful!

The club was also still enthusiastic to use the tips that local garden designer Erin Koberle, of Erin Koberle Gardens, shared during her talk and demonstration on container gardening. They were most excited about using perennials in pots which reduces cost and adds interesting foliage in stunning arrays of colors and textures.

The club plants two large rectangular containers flanking the entrance to Borough Hall. Using Koberle’s advice, the planter’s design uses winterberry plants as anchor plantings to provide year-round color. To produce vibrant red berries in winter for a lovely holiday display, they chose male and female plants and these planters also had room for colorful annual plants. They also planted to two containers located in front of the Shrewsbury Historical Society using the same concepts. In early May, club members added Martha Washington geraniums with showy, ruffled pink blooms, heuchera with reddish, lobed leaves, and Creeping Jenny that has zingy lime, trailing foliage. As the temperatures soar, the Martha Washingtons will stop looking fresh, so they will be replaced with new flowers that are more heat-tolerant. That means a new opportunity to shop for replacements.

Two mornings in May were spent in the walled garden. The English ivy that romantically scampers up the brick walls was given a healthy trim. Several established shrub roses also received good pruning as dead or crossing branches were removed and the shrubs were shaped up. This month, they should be covered in rosebuds and ready to put on a show. Several members spent hours on their hands and knees cleaning up the ground covers which had grown enthusiastically. Next, the club used mulch to top off the pathway that meanders through the garden. A new rain barrel was also installed in this space. Set up on bricks, this terracotta-colored vessel will collect rain water, making it easy for hardworking club members to give thirsty plants a drink. A new St. John’s Wort shrub was purchased for the area just outside of the garden. This shrub is native to North America and supports pollinators with its cheery, yellow blooms all summer. Add drought tolerance and deer resistance to its charms, and the club has high hopes for this shrub making a big impression.

Club members also love to discuss new finds for tools and plants. Club Co-President Judy Bonanno, of Shrewsbury, was positively giddy about her new cordless leaf blower, which she is using to clear away loose soil when containers are being replanted. Notable envy was displayed when Lara Garrett, of Red Bank, came to a day of service with her new “baby shovel.” These mini shovels with shorter handles and smaller blades make them ideal for planting in containers or squeezing that one last plant into a tight space.

New members are welcome to join Shrewsbury Garden Club. Members can live in Shrewsbury or the local area. Email for membership details or visit for more information about the club.