Popular Flower Types
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned gardener, there’s always something new to learn about flowers. In this article, gardening enthusiast Jason White walks you through over three hundred different types of flowers, all with names and pictures.
On March 25th, the Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Association will hold a spring symposium at Lenox Memorial Middle and High School. The independent nonprofit boasts a membership of around 300, and is dedicated to educating the community on sustainable gardening practices through events, trainings, and in practice at sites throughout the region. In Pittsfield, local master gardeners maintain a demonstration garden at Springside Park. Margy Gwóźdź of Cheshire has been with the association since 2009 and is its Berkshire area coordinator. She spoke to WAMC Berkshire Bureau Chief Josh Landes about the group’s history, and what attendees can expect from the gathering in Lenox.
GWÓŹDŹ: Our association was formed in the late 80s, when we were part of the UMass Extension service, and then Massachusetts ran out of funds and got rid of our program. So, we went out on our own, and a few members from the original classes did form us, and we’re a part of four different counties. Our organization and our mission is to educate the homeowner on environmental and organic practices and to help out just to make good choices on your property so you’re not damaging the environment in any way. And to educate the public as often as possible.
WAMC: What’s unique about Western Massachusetts when it comes to gardening? Is there anything about our climate or geographic location that makes it a particularly interesting or challenging place to garden?
Well, part of it is soil, and over the four different areas- Berkshire County has a high lime content through a lot of it because of the lime works up here in Adams and the way the geologic formation goes. And in the other valley, the upper and lower valley areas over across the hills, they have more of a silt and loamy texture and a little bit different pH system. So, if the pH is checked, here in the Berkshires, usually the pH is different than other pHs. And the pH is what the soil and the plants need for to absorb all the nutrients from the soil. So, if you have the proper pH, then the plants can do well.
Now, when does the gardening season fully get into swing? When you talk about preparing folks to get into the season, when does that kick off for, say, 2023?
Woah, that kicks off anytime. I’m sure a lot of people have already looked through the catalogs to order their seeds. February, March are when a lot of people are starting their seeds indoors to do their vegetable gardening. The difference between Northern Berkshire and Southern Berkshire is really great. It’s a couple of weeks different than when you would put your vegetables out. Your flower gardening, the perennials are going to come up on their own when they’re ready, generally. That’s indicated by the amount of light they’re going to get, and when the snow covers gone, and when the soil starts to warm. Gardening actually, is pretty much all year round. People have houseplants or grow a lot of herbs on their kitchen shelf.
Now we’re speaking today in advance of the Spring into Gardening 16th Berkshire Garden Symposium coming up on March 25th. What is the symposium going to address, and what can folks get out of the experience if they choose to attend?
What they can get out of the experience is a lot of education about what they can do with their property and the proper plants to do. It depends on what classes they take. We’re having demonstrations on houseplant care, and we’re also having creative gardening. It’s another demonstration where the person is going to show you how you can garden, even if you have an apartment, you can put a pot on your steps or you can put one on your balcony or your back deck, and what you can do creatively with containers. And the houseplant person is taking care of what to do with your houseplants, how to divide them, take care of them. The other speakers in the auditorium- Because we’re doing this differently because a lot of people are COVID-minded still, the auditorium seats 400, but we generally have 100 or less people come so you can spread out in the auditorium. And the first speaker is Bridghe McCracken, who is a local from Great Barrington, and she owns Helia Land Design and Helia Native Nursery. She’s going to be talking about landscaping as a form of stewardship- So, how to take care of your property, what you should look for, how to check out invasives, are those something you should remove or not. The next person is Peggy MacLeod, who is a co-founder of the Western Massachusetts Pollinator Networks. And she’s going to talk about what plants you should have, how what you grow affects our pollinators. And pollinators aren’t just butterflies and aren’t just honeybees. So, you’re going to get a lot of knowledge that you can use locally for the average homeowner and your garden, and even for master gardeners to come and find out more about what’s going on. And we also have some vendor tables. So, we’ll have a few vendors, environmental vendors, and a few sales, things that you might need like garden gloves, or maybe you want to pick up a houseplant, or maybe you want to try out our raffle, which is pretty good because we get a lot of donations from our local businesses all through Berkshire County.
Would you say that there’s any trends in 2023 when it comes to the world of gardening?
Yes, I believe people are doing more native plants. And they’re finding out that our native plants, and even some of the hybrids of the native plants, which are still good considering on, depending on the hybrid, are just as beautiful as a lot of the fancy plants that you can buy that aren’t native and maybe a little bit more invasive in your garden. So, yes, it’s fine to put in a German Bearded Iris, but along with that, why not put in something else that maybe the monarchs can lay their eggs on or eat or some of our local bumblebees can feed on in the fall? So, there’s a huge range of information that you can get from attending this.