Thursday, April 14th...
Our regular Thursday evening meeting was held at the West Village Care Center in Independence. The site had a roomy meeting area and once we learnt how to work the doors (they had loud alarms attached to them) all was great. Joe became our doorman for the evening.
President, Kacy Novak, started the meeting with a greeting to all. She began by introducing our own club member, webmaster, and guest speaker, Josh Spece. Josh, as you may know, along with his Mother and several other family members run a nursery called “In the Country Gardens and Gifts” in rural Independence. Josh’s nursery specializes in Hosta and they carry hundreds of different varieties. Josh spoke to us about hosta care and the different varieties. He had some great slides to show us. Did you know there are over 4000 varieties of registered hosta? They range from 3” across to 5-6 feet across! I started to take notes about his talk and quickly filled 2 pages with helpful hints and variety information. It was too much information to share in these minutes. Perhaps the single most important thing I might have learned was that some hosta can take 4-8 years to mature. (To get the very specialized look they are supposed to have, like lumpy leaves, or certain color combos) Soooo, if you dig them up too often to move or divide, they never reach that maturity or never become the beauty they are supposed to be.) Josh talked about pest control and diseases. He gave us a preview of exciting new varieties to watch for. His talk included a handout of all the different ones that they sell. If you have questions about any hosta you have or are looking for, then he’s the man. In the Country Gardens and Gifts will be hosting their annual spring open house with speakers this year on May 14th. Be sure to check it out.
After Josh’s talk, Kacy went straight to business. Minutes to the last meeting were approved as printed. Treasurer, Nancy Baldwin, finally made it back from the sunny south, to give us a treasure’s report. Recent expenses included, $335.71 for newsletters, $500.00 of tour money went to Independence Master Gardeners and their Lee Mansion landscaping project, and $100.00 went to the Linn County Master gardeners as a memorial for the late Ken Lafferty.
I introduced a new name badge system to the club. Everyone will get new badges once they attend a meeting. I also showed the club pins the AKCA has sent us samples of. If you want to donate money toward their KHV (Koi Herpes Virus) research you will receive one of these very nice pins. AKCA has also announced a reduced subscription fee on their Koi Magazine. It is now $17.00 a year. I am still taking orders for water plants, although when you read this it will be too late to order. I brought in a sample of a water hawthorn bloom. A cold water plant, it is now blooming in my pond. A pretty little white flower that blooms along with marsh marigold early in the spring and again late fall when the water cools again. If you are interested in any of these things, please contact me.
Bonnie Happel, with the program committee, reported most meetings are now spoken for. We still could use a couple more speaker ideas, so if anyone knows of someone that would be willing to talk to us please contact her or Mary Robinson.
We talked about the pond tour, but had no committee members present for a report. The tour will be in the Cedar Rapids area and again on the second Sunday in July. (10th)
For old business, the Indian Creek Nature Center plant sale is May 7th and the club will be putting up a promotional table there. Kacy has volunteered to man the table. If you can help her, please call ASAP.
Kacy then let new members introduced themselves. Welcome Judy and Dave Halfhill from Earlville, and Diane Madoerin from Independence.
Carol Sindelar spoke briefly about her flowering marsh marigolds and Kacy talked about her lilies coming up.
Door prizes were drawn for, with Joe Robinson, Bonnie Happel, Rita Tharp, and Kacy being the lucky winners. Meeting adjourned.
Following adjournment, I had brought in a couple badly overgrown water lilies and talked to newer members about dividing them. I did this after the meeting, so the more experienced ponders wouldn’t have to sit through a demo they’ve seen many times.
Saturday, April 23rd meeting...
MMMMMM… these are the very best meetings… food, a great looking pond, time to converse, and did I mention food? Our monthly Saturday meeting was hosted my Monica and Gill Morley and Elena Murillo in their home in Cedar Rapids. A windy, chilly day, but the sun shone brightly allowing us to get out and get a good look at the very beautiful pond and yard. The Morley’s multi level pond was crystal clear and despite the colder water, the many fish were active and looking for lunch, also. Kacy started the meeting by asking the group to go outside for the grand tour.
Returning to the house, we began going over the business at hand. I again explained the new badge system, as there were lots of attending members that were unable to get to the last meeting. Kacy had new members Judy and David Halfhill, Nancy and Fred Koontz, and Pam and Curt Moore introduce themselves. There was not a treasure’s report because of Nancy’s absence.
Old business consists of Kacy asking for volunteer assistance at the May 7th Indian Creek plant sale booth. Linda Nolan and Pam Moore volunteered to help her. Thanks ladies.
Bonnie Happel reported for the program committee. She stated that all meeting dates were full however; we could still use a couple speakers.
Rosie Michaels asked the club to come to some agreement on some technical terms of this year’s pond tour. Location-Cedar Rapids, date – July 10th, time-11:00-5:00, admission-5.00; basically the same as years before. Upon asking for pond locations, we had 5 people present that volunteered to participate already, so we’re off to a great start!
As part of our new business, Roger Thompson demonstrated his DIY mechanical filter and settlement chamber. He used a common square plastic container and designed a series of brushes and pads to filter out his water. It was an interesting concept and if you have any further questions, please contact him. Thanks to Roger for bringing it in to show everyone.
Monica showed us a product she began using along with SAB. It was called Ecoblast. Kind of pricey, but couldn’t argue with the results, as her ponds were crystal clear and the bottom pebbles in her pond were clean and free of all algae and she has never preformed a spring cleanout of any kind.
There was some open discussion about what’s going on in people’s ponds and then Kacy adjourned the business meeting.
Following the meeting, the Morleys and Elena served us up the nicest of buffets. Ham and salads and cookies, oh my! Wonderful and yummy. With food like that, it’s no wonder our meeting attendance has been doubling lately.
Our speaker for the evening was the well known Master Gardener and pond club member, Deb Walser. Her topic was building small fountains for the home or garden. Although she demonstrated the construction of a fountain made of clay pots, she explained how the techniques could be applied to other items like; ceramic bowls, teacups or enamelware. The possibilities are endless. The key points were: the pump—a Mini Jet 404 from Aquarium Systems ($12.49 by mail or online from That Fish Place; a drill bit for drilling through ceramic tile, keep it cool to keep it sharp, they are pricey so take good care of it. Beyond that, use your imagination and create.
Again, a special thanks for the extra special meeting.
Respectfully submitted, Jackie Allsup