Fall Song

Another year gone, leaving everywhere its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves, the uneaten fruits crumbling damply in the shadows, unmattering back from the particular island of this summer, this NOW, that now is nowhere except underfoot, moldering in that black subterranean castle of unobservable mysteries - roots and sealed seeds and the wanderings of water. This I try to remember when time's measure painfully chafes, for instance when autumn flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing to stay - how everything lives, shifting from one bright vision to another, forever in these momentary pastures.

- Mary Oliver

Welcome back AGC ladies!

I absolutely love Autumn as it is a time to rethink our gardens. Ponder digging up a plant that didn't like being in the sun and moving it to a shadier place. Pour through bulb and plant catalogues until your head is dizzy. Enjoy the last flush of roses and dahlias and coax them to bloom perfectly as if on cue for the GCV Symposium.

I particularly love watching the flowers take their final bow after a long summer of hard work, leaving only an abstraction of their summer beauty. I marvel at how the oak leaf hydrangeas turn up the volume of their fall hues as harbingers of the colors that will soon arrive on our trees.

It is also a time to reconnect with old friends at AGC, to welcome new members, to swap stories of summer fun and adventures and to prepare for a new year of garden club activities. There will be many opportunities in the next couple of months to roll up our sleeves and dig in, so let's get going!


Jean MacKellar Marshall

Jean MacKellar Marshall, a native Charlottesvillian, aged 93, died on September 2 of this year, having been an Albemarle Garden Club member for over 45 years.

She joined our Club in 1972, leaving an imprint almost too big to match. She participated in almost every aspect of our Club's doings, and served as a second Vice President in 1981. Almost every year as a member, she worked tirelessly on the botanical collection at Morea. She was very well known for her gardening knowledge and ability to identify plants, and she was especially good on naming daffodil varieties and wildflowers. Besides being on the Morea Committee, she was a vital part of the Rose Test Committee, the Lily Test Committee, the Daffodil Committee, the Bulletin/CGV Journal writing Committee, the Nellie Hough course, and the Martha Jefferson House Committee. In fact, she often served as Chairman of all of these Committees at various times. She was also our Club's Parliamentarian in 1982.

In 1976, she won the Leon Ladson Perry Award, and in 1978, the Garden Club of Virginia Horticulture Award.

What an amazing resume she had!

More than all of this, Jean was a much loved member of our Club - one who was very modest about her extraordinary contributions to our lives as Club members and gardeners.

We will miss Jean very much indeed.

There will be a memorial service for Jean at 11 a.m. on Friday, September 15, at St Paul's Church, Ivy

respectfully submitted, Mary Pollack

Welcome to Our New Members!

Colleen Bassett

My husband, Brian, and I moved to Charlottesville in 2010 from London where we had been living from 2000. Both of our daughters love living in the wide open spaces that Albemarle county offers. Previously, I was a Marketing Manager for Ford Motor Company in the United Kingdom. In Charlottesville, I worked at Stedman House as an Interior Designer for 5 years. Currently, I manage our Horse Farm in Albemarle County. My hobbies include gardening, Fox Hunting, golf and tennis.

I was lucky to inherit some wonderful garden spaces at our farm that the previous owners had installed. All of the gardens needed a lot of rehabilitation and I have installed some new flowering plants to coordinate with the legacy gardens. We are lucky to have a lovely boxwood parterre garden which visitors find interesting. Our family had a wonderful time preparing the gardens and house for Historic Garden Week 2017. Currently, we are working hard on our vegetable garden. Its lovely to pick fresh asparagus and nibble on it with my children while walking around the garden deciding what to harvest for our evening meal.

My favorite plant in my garden is the hellebore. They are the first plants to show me their little green flowery faces in the late Winter. I love the red versions too. They are easy to replant and their prodigious underground root structure fascinates me. Like how did they get across the driveway… are their roots really under the asphalt?

My favorite garden is The Royal Kew Gardens located outside of London. My friends threw me a beautiful flowery baby shower in an amazing greenhouse there. Some tourists even took pictures of my party!

I am very excited to join the Albemarle Garden Club and further my thirst for horticulture knowledge. I am thoroughly impressed with all of the hard work and dedication of the members of the AGC. From the moment I met you ladies, I knew that it was an organization that I wanted to be a part of.

Tasha Tobin

I have lived in Cville for a little over 4 years. I

am recently married to E.D. Hirsch Jr, a retired UVa professor and founder of the Core Knowledge Foundation,which creates educational curriculum for elementary schools.

I have 2 children; William who just got married in July and lives in Cleveland and Alexandra of Denver but very soon off to Oregon to learn how to make wine.

I ran my own event studio in Ohio and have practiced professional floristry for 25+ years. Most recently I retired as Creative Director for Hedge Fine Blooms in Cville. My arthritic knees finally gave out to the physicality of the job. I continue to be a GCA design judge and am on the GCA National speakers list. Both of which take me on enriching trips outside the zone and beyond. I've served on the GCA Flower Show and Judging committee in many capacities. I think that record along with awards can be found in my profile on the GCA website.

I will continue to teach floral design and hold workshops as it is a passion I love to share and get great pleasure seeing people surprise themselves by creating beautiful arrangements or conquering more difficult technical tasks. It is very rewarding because flowers always bring joy and are present in the most important occasions in our lives.

In Ohio I had lots of gardens; vegetable/herb, cutting, wildflower field, perennial shade and sun, window boxes and containers on the patio. My kids would race off the school bus in September to gobble down sweet 100's in the tomato garden, a sight I never tired of! Having moved to Boston for 3 years and then Cville I downsized quite a bit and most of my gardening came to an end, except for landscape purposes, a few patio pots and sungold tomato plants :-). However in my profession I worked with flowers and foliage daily as well as container planting for client's homes, inside and out.

Due to my eternal interest in design I always look at a plant or blossom for it's "cutability" factor. How well it would hold up, color, surface texture and form. Over the years I have come to appreciate Hosta in its varied colors and sizes, clematis for its grace and delicacy, peonies for their voluptuous form and hue, Solomon's Seal for its arched stem and garden roses for their scent and ruffled beauty. I still feel out of my temperate zone in Virginia but I love the delicacy of Nandina leaves and the evolution of their berries. One can shear, shape and play with boxwood and tree ivy lasts forever used in a multitude of ways. These are wonderful plants for a Yankee floral designer but probably pretty mundane for you southern gals.

My mother had many gardens at her homes in Dover, MA and on Cape Cod. My favorites were a formal rose garden, where the excitement was infectious with each new bloom and special variety newly planted. The other were the pool gardens, a wild and dense mass of annual bursting with riotous color. Cosmos, zinnias, snaps, ageratum, salvia, cleome and others seemed so happy to be in the sun entangled in a static dance with each other. You couldn't look at it without smiling and I looked often every day.

I look forward to learning more about the zone plants and to continue learning artistry in growing and designing. I'm also excited to get know a group of talented, interesting and enthusiastic women in all things botanical. That is the wonder and beauty of GCA.

Here Comes the Sun!

Being called a sun worshipper used to mean smearing on the cocoa butter and hanging out by the pool, but now it means enjoying harvesting clean energy! The technology and economics of solar have changed so much that it has now become practical for many more situations. Just three years ago the solar installers told me it was “simply not worth it” for our tricky site. Now things have changed and solar is going in and Skeptical Bob and Penny-pinching Carol are thrilled. We are finally catching up with Liza Edgerton and Karen Blair who have been watching their meters run backwards for years. Have you gone solar?! Do you want to? Let us know! I’m sure any of us would be happy to share our experiences about taking fun in the sun to whole new levels!

Here is more information: Low panel prices and the federal 30% tax credit make it cost-effective for most customers. The emergence of bulk purchasing coops, sometimes also called “solarize” programs, such as those offered through nonprofits like LEAP, make the process easy for homeowners and businesses and further reduces costs.

respectfully submitted, Carol Carter

AGC Field Trip organized by Pam Jiranek and Cathy Lively

On a bright and beautiful Wednesday morning, the first day of summer, June 21, AGC members gathered at St. Paul’s Ivy to carpool over to Gramercy Farm, the lovely historic home belonging to fellow AGC member Elsie Thompson’s family in Hot Springs. After our scenic drive, Elsie greeted us with iced tea, fruit, and cookies before leading us on a tour of her home and gardens. We learned some of the history of the native fieldstone farmhouse, which has been owned by the Dunn family and its descendants since 1882, and a few stories about Elsie’s ancestors and relatives who have spent time in the home, primarily as a summer residence.

Originally known as Rock Spring, the property was renamed to express the family’s gratitude for a Dunn forebear’s recovery from a serious illness while staying there. It has reportedly had many uses - as a tavern, the site of a livery stable at which coaches and travelers could obtain fresh horses, as a private house, and a school for young ladies.

The main house was built in several stages. The first five-bay Georgian section dates to 1791, and shows fine artisanship, possibly from the German tradition of stonemasonry. The adjoining second two-bay section was added before 1840 as an entirely separate house, but is now fully connected to the first section. A kitchen building to the north, possibly built before 1900, was connected to the house with a stonework hyphen, possibly around 1911.

Virginia architect Duncan Lee, one of Colonial Williamsburg’s chief restoration architects, directed a major restoration and reworking of the interior and exterior in 1925-26. His design included a compatible fieldstone two-story wing on the south end of the house. As rearranged by Mr. Lee and redecorated by New York firms, Gramercy became a comfortable American country house with all the expected amenities of the period, and was featured in an issue of Field magazine.

The grounds were designed at the same time by Virginia’s revered landscape and garden architect, Charles Gillette. Elsie showed us some of Gillette’s blueprints for the site as well as his extensively detailed plant lists, which she is thrilled to have as a reference. One particularly scenic element in front of the house is where Gillette rearranged the flow of water from an adjacent spring into a decorative double stream with little cascades. He also created a walled garden at the back and a tiered meadow area beyond. Under Duncan Lee’s direction, collaborating with Charles Gillette, the original stable and barn complex was taken down and replaced with a picturesque, and just renovated, stone staff cottage, a fenced cutting garden, and a multi-bay garage with a cottage facade. Rustic graduated red slate roofs, shipped in from Vermont, were a whimsical touch.

In the past five years, with the help of skilled builder Tom Redifer of Precision Remodeling in Waynesboro, the infrastructures and many deteriorated surfaces in the main house and staff cottage have been fully restored and rehabilitated. Engineers from GBGeotechnics USA’s New York office used several technologies to map the pipes and systems hidden within the walls so that damage to plaster walls and woodwork could be minimized during the re-plumbing of the whole structure. (Elsie was quite excited to inform us, to our collective relief-- pardon the pun-- that all of the bathrooms were now fully modernized!)

The character of the house, including its decorative wall paneling and plasterwork and the fixtures in its bathrooms, pantry, and kitchen, can be said to be almost unchanged since the 1920s, when a parade of summer Homestead Hotel visitors from New York and Washington arrived for lunches and dinners.

After our own delightful box lunch at the Warm Springs Gallery, where Karen Blair is one of several artists on display at the moment, we paraded ourselves over to the Homestead for more garden touring, kindly arranged for us by Elsie. We were greeted by Homestead archivist, Cindy White, who filled us in on a few quick history facts and gave us a guided tour through the spa to see the historic indoor pool. Next we all gathered at the newly planted parterre, where Brittany Whitelaw of Thrive 365 Farm (with a plant nursery and greenhouses in Monterey, Va) and Forest Lee,

Director of the Homestead grounds for over 20 years, gave a detailed tour of their new beginnings. We continued our tour through the grounds, where Forest shared much of his knowledge and gardening secrets.

Our day ended with tea in the Grand Lobby, before we made our way back to Charlottesville. Many thanks to Elsie for sharing Gramercy Farm and arranging our special garden club edition of a Homestead tour!

Some of us returned along Route 39, following the Maury River through scenic Goshen Pass. An interesting side note is that Elsie’s grandmother was an active member of GCV through the Warm Springs Valley Garden Club, of which she was for a time Vice President. She was very active in the highly successful anti-billboard efforts of GCV in the ‘30s. Elsie’s mother remembers going on expeditions to record offensive commercial signage along country roads, including 33 large Morton Salt posters on the side of a barn! GCV members would write directly to the companies that were advertising this way, and suggest that they should reconsider their approach. Legislative efforts were also successful, and for a long time Virginia's roads have been among the most protected and scenic in the nation.

respectfully submitted, Pam Jiranek

Thank you from UVa

Thank you to everyone in the club who responded to our call for flowers for UVA Hospital during the month of June. As you can see from the thank you note from LaDelle Gay, the hospital's volunteer coordinator, we brought joy to many. Our stems made 153 arrangements – Wow!

respectfully submitted, Melinda Frierson and Elaine Oakey

What a gorgeous cover on GCV Journal by our very own Karen Blair.

Tick Alert!

Ticks are upon us in unprecedented numbers due to an unusually damp spring and following a “mast” year - which ecologists explain as a bumper crop of acorns. This means that the summer following acorn booms, white-footed mouse numbers

explode and these mice play a major role in infecting blacklegged ticks with the agents that cause Lyme disease, Babesiosis, and Anaplasmosis. The two years following a good acorn crop we see high abundance of infected ticks For this reason, acorn “mast” years are also harbingers of future Lyme disease risk.

PLEASE use precautions when heading outdoors and take these steps when returning from a day of gardening, hiking, golf or other outdoor activities.

- Button up

While most of us can’t wear a hazmat suit while outdoors, tuck your pants into your socks, button up your shirt collar and cuffs. Rubber bands around the wrists of your long sleeve tee shirt also works. - Consider wearing clothing that has been pretreated with permethrin to ward off ticks.

Pretreated pants from REI:

-Pretreated with BugsAway Insect Shield that uses permethrin, which is a man-made version of a natural insect repellent found in a type of chrysanthemum plant -Repels mosquitoes (including those carrying West Nile virus and malaria), ticks,ants, flies, chiggers and midges or no-see-ums UPF 30 sun protection

Pretreated pullover top from L L Bean:

Treated with permethrin, a synthetic version of a chemical produced naturally by daisies. Lightweight, moisture-wicking material. UPF 50+ protection.

Repels insects for up to 70 washes. - Use a bug spray with deet - When coming inside run a lint remover (the kind with tape) over you to try and remove ticks stuck to your clothing. Wash clothing as soon as possible and place in dryer at HIGH for 30 minutes to kill any left over ticks. - Never kill a tick with your bare hands - place in a bowl of rubbing alcohol or burn it. - If you have any flu like symptoms, please see your doctor and get tested for Lyme Disease.

- One little reassurance: All of the diseases transmitted by ticks, except for Rocky Mt Spotted Fever, are transmitted only after the tick has been attached for 24 hours and most likely after 36 hours. So, early detection of the tick is important.

- Although poison ivy is not as threatening, for those with a bad reaction, try TecNu Poison Ivy and Oak Scrub. It removes the oils that cause rash/itching and helps to stop spreading on your skin. Available at drug stores and online at Amazon Smile.

Photos from our Bog Garden

respectfully submitted, Carol Carter

Cardinal Flower New York Ironweed Turtlehead, the logo flower for the McIntire Botanical Garden

The Smithsonian Archives of American Gardens

Donna Ernest's garden is being proposed for submission into The Smithsonian Archives of American Gardens by Susan Turner, Chair of AGC Garden History and Design. Click here to see other gardens already in the archives including Brooke Spencer's Rabbit Run.

Smithsonian Archives of American Garden

respectfully submitted and photo by, Catriona Tudor Erler

Middle Mountain Farm tour

Located high on top of the mountain, these gardens take center stage to stunning views of the Shenandoah National Park. Hosts and homeowners Rod and Maggie Walker treated us to a tour and talk about their plant selections. They are Co-Founders of Blue Ridge PRISM, recipient of GCV’s 2017 Dugdale Award for Meritorious Achievement in Conservation to be presented in October. BR PRISM was nominated by Albemarle Garden Club.

Conservation dinner

The conservation committee held a meeting at Pro Re Nata, a brewery and tap room located in Crozet. FYI - Pro Re Data is a latin term you probably have seen a million times on a prescription as PRN - it means doctors' orders for take as needed. Our group met in the what were huge shipping containers repurposed for private events. So it was the perfect setting for the Conservation Committee to meet and discuss issues and strategies for the coming year. Thank you to Karen Blair and Kim Cory for organizing.

#BogGarden #ArchivesofAmericanGardens #Tickprotection #newagemembers #jeanmarshall


Albemarle Garden Club

P.O. Box 5746, Charlottesville, VA  22905