Glastonbury Partners in Planting has worked with the The Historical Society of Glastonbury on many occasions. The first was a walking tour in South Glastonbury to visit historic homes and some of our member’s gardens. The funds generated supported the Society.
There have been three joint projects specifically at the Welles-Shipman-Ward House on Main Street in South Glastonbury which is run by the Society.
The first GPIP project in 2012 established a border of trees and shrubs to screen the closest neighbor from the newly reconstructed tobacco shed. Native plants were chosen for the planting, many of which would have been used by the early occupants of the house. These include witch hazel, an astringent; bayberry for candles; and blueberries and shadblow for drying and cooking.
Since 2013 GPIP has planted a small demonstration plot of tobacco plants near the new tobacco shed. The plants, donated by Ken and Howard Horton, show children and adults what tobacco farming is all about. These are tended through the summer and harvested on Farm Day in September. The plants are cut, left in the sun awhile to wilt so that the leaves don’t tear when they are strung, six-to-a-lath, and are hung to dry in the recently-opened tobacco shed
In 2015 GPIP enlarged the growing area to include a selection of heirloom vegetables. Varieties chosen show examples of what the early Welles and Shipman families may have had for dinner. Project chair Karen Rottner planted the corn, squash, potatoes, beets, carrots and onions. The plan is to involve children in the planting each spring and for young members of the Glastonbury Historical Society to tend the garden.
– Chairperson: Karen Rottner
26 large pin oaks, pears, tupelos, maples and other trees now grace Glastonbury streets thanks to a grant from the Norma and Natale Sestero Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving at was awarded to GPIP, late in 2014.
Most of the grant money was used to dig the 26 trees from our tree nursery and to hire two local landscape companies to plant them along the New London Turnpike, in South Glastonbury and other selected locations around town.
The remaining grant funds will be used to purchase new trees for the nursery and for more planting next spring. GPIP is very thankful to the Sestero Fund at the Hartford Foundation of Public Giving for helping to make Glastonbury a more attractive and environmentally-friendly Town.
A few of the dedicated Median Gardens volunteers learned the best way to plant roses from GPIP member Bruce Lester, a master gardener. Bruce also volunteers at Elizabeth Park’s famous rose garden. GPIP is always looking for ways to educate our members about the care of plants and to promote an understanding of the value of biodiversity among flora.
In May 2014, GPIP partnered with the Adult & Continuing Education department to offer a course: Beware the Beast in Your Backyard to help our community recognize and control invasive plants such as Oriental Bittersweet, Japanese Knotweed, Garlic Mustard, Burning Bush, Multiflora Rose and more. Information on native plants was also included. It was a 2-night course: a classroom meeting plus an outdoor class at Riverfront Park for a Plant Walk to identify these aggressive plants. 15 people attended.
The course was taught by Michael Corcoran who is affiliated with the University of Connecticut’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Coverts Project and the Connecticut Audubon Society.
Renovation of the older Village Green apartments was finally completed in 2013. GPIP Board members Bob Shipman and Deborah Kent volunteered their design services creating new foundation plantings. The following spring, GPIP volunteers, in partnership with students from the Regional AgriScience and Technology Program at Glastonbury High School, planted shade trees and shrubs at the Village Green Community Center. Then, later in the summer students and volunteers partnering with American Landscaping and Irrigation, LLC, added a paved patio for the residents’ use. Now the Village Green residents are thoroughly enjoying their new outside living space.
Your Community Beautification Committee brings you this timely gardening tip.
By Bob Shipman and Della Winans
You must have seen trees mulched in this manner. But do you know that this can be harmful and may cause death to your plants? Although roots require a constant moisture supply, the bark cannot sustain life in a constantly moist situation. This constant source of moisture can cause rot, fungus, and diseases to occur in the bark.
The mulch around this tree is ten inches deep! It should be no deeper than four inches and the mulch should be back at least three inches from the trunk and root flare at the base.
You may not notice any ill effect in the first year or two, but the long-term effect can cause death. You must keep mulch back at least three inches from the trunk. This includes the portion of the trunk that flares out at the base.
The purpose of mulching is to retain moisture, moderate soil temperature, reduce weed competition, protect the plant from mechanical damage from lawn mowers and string trimmers, and add a finished appearance to the planting. But don’t use too much. Two to four inches above the proper soil level is the recommended depth. So if you plan to re-mulch this year, be sure the total depth of mulch does not exceed four inches. The roots near the surface need oxygen. A deep mulch prohibits oxygen from reaching the root system.
Organic mulches breakdown and contribute to the fertility and structure of your soil. Fine textured mulches such as leaf compost or finely ground bark mulch should be applied only two inches deep, while coarse textured mulches such as bark nuggets, may be piled up to four inches deep. The coarse nuggets allow more air penetration whereas fine textured mulch packs down and impedes air penetration.
Mulches whose main component is wood (cellulose) may attract termites and also tie up the nitrogen from your soil as they decompose. Since bark contains little cellulose, composted bark mulch is preferable over other wood mulches. Many of the red color-enhanced mulches are composed of shredded wood and therefore deplete the soil of the nitrogen that your plants need for good growth.
Mulching has many beneficial aspects for your plants. It has the additional benefit of adding a finished appearance to your total landscape. However the mulch should not be the dominant feature of the landscape. The overall design and the plants themselves should be the focal point.