Horticulture Chair 2023-2024:  Ann Calder


(Click on photos to enlarge)


Fall is a wonderful time to be in your garden and the perfect time to plant perennials, trees and shrubs. Company has gone, the weather is beautiful and lots of plants are on sale…what’s stopping you!

Begin by taking an inventory of your garden. Review the successes and the misses of the summer.

*Start this process by knowing what plants you have. Save the tags or use one of the many plant ID apps to help you with the identification process.

*Knowing what you have will also help you moving forward. How and when to prune and fertilize and the basic habits of the plant all depend on what particular variety you have in your garden.

*If a plant is unhappy or underperforming make sure you have it planted in the correct place. The “right plant in the right place” makes all the difference.

*When you know what you have and what works well in your garden, you are better prepared for planning for next season.

If you choose to buy new trees, shrubs and perennials consider the following:

*Look at the ultimate size of the plant. A shrub may look small in their nursery container but if the plant grows to a size larger than you anticipated, that creates more work for you and an unhappy plant.

*Know the plant’s light requirements and know what parts of your garden will suit those requirements. Afternoon sun is hot…so, look for full sun plants. Morning sun is more gentle and can support part sun plants.

*Sale plants are plentiful in the fall but many have been in their containers for a long time. If the plant you purchase is root bound, make sure you loosen the roots before planting. You may even need to cut the roots if they are really dense.

*Consider buying Natives. Native plants are more adaptive to our soil and climate. In the long run natives will require less water and should require no fertilizer or pesticides… a win for your garden’s health and our Island’s health. Aster and Solidago are great native perennials to add to your fall garden and the butterflies love them.

Fall Garden Maintenance:

*If you have a lawn, September is a great time for lawn renovation and re-seeding.

*Continue watering your garden, especially any of your new plantings. Water at the roots and water deeply.

*Clean up plants that are diseased, insect infested or in poor condition.

*Pull weeds now. This should help them from germinating and making a weedy mess in your spring garden.

*Resist the urge to over clean your yard. Leave healthy plants and grasses. The hollow stems can over winter beneficial insects and native bees. And, birds love the seed heads of Black-eyed Susans and Coneflowers.

Fall is also a great time to:

*To set up bird feeders.

*Clean your garden tools

*Bring in any houseplants that you have had outside for the summer.

*Try bringing your geraniums and begonias into the house. They overwinter and will lengthen your garden season by adding color inside the house.

*Vegetable gardeners can plant cool season crops like lettuce, kale and spinach.

*Plant daffodil and tulip bulbs for spring color. Plant the bulbs in clumps rather that straight lines to look more natural.

Native Plant Educational Session August 2023

Photos by Debra Resch (Click on photos to enlarge)

The Garden Club of Long Beach Island participated in the Native Plant Educational Session at the Long Beach Township Field Station located in Holgate on Thursday, August 24, 2023. The event was organized and led by volunteer Juliana Perello, Alliance for a Living Ocean (ALO).

Plants serve as a source of food and shelter for animals. They convert sunlight into energy which is used to feed every organism on Earth – either by directly eating a plant or eating another animal that feeds on plants.

Green Space vs Gray Space

Green space is an area covered in plants while gray space is paved space like roads, sidewalks and parking lots. Plants keep an area cooler by reflecting sunlight. When it rains water cannot be absorbed by pavement and causes flooding, while plants have the ability to absorb and use the water, redirecting it into the ground.

Native plants have coevolved with native animals. This means that native animals may not be able to eat and use non-native plants due to their specialized adaptations. By planting more native plants you can help grow native animal population and promote biodiversity.

Coastal native plants are of special importance. They not only are needed to feed and shelter animals, but they aid humans as well. They hold onto soil or sand and protect against storm surges. Areas with marshes, dunes, and mangroves fare better during hurricanes than areas without due to their ability to redirect the energy from waves, wind and water.

Ann Calder, Horticulture Chair, Garden Club of LBI, was also present who collaborated with ALO by providing various seeds to give away along with native plant information. She presented herself as a LBI gardener who helped answer questions regarding gardening challenges here and how natives could enhance your garden and bring nature into your garden.


Photos by Jeannette Michelson (Click on photos to enlarge.)


Watering plants in hot weather is crucial.  Follow these tips from our Horticulture chair Ann Calder  to help your plants thrive in the heat.

Watch the temperatures and the rain fall. Extended periods of high temperatures can lead to stressed plants. Wilting leaves (especially on Hydrangea), dry edges, unhealthy vegetable leaves and fruits are all signs of lack of moisture. Water deeply and preferably in the morning. Watering in the morning reduces evaporation and plant diseases. Always water the root zone. Roots are designed to take up water. Young plants and new plantings need more water than established plantings.

Containers need to be watered often. Use your index finger to see the moisture level in the soil.  Make sure that the water is reaching past the mulch and the first few inches of soil.

If  your soil is sandy, it dries out more quickly than other soils.


Wait until the cooler temperatures arrive.


Pruning should not be done when shrubs or trees are not stressed from heat and lack of moisture.


Here is some good information about fertilizing in the summer…



Weed and deadhead. Weeds compete for water and if you keep on top of them it is not such an overwhelming job. Deadheading will encourage your perennials to put out more blooms.

Take notice of what does well in your garden. If plant material has been struggling or not meeting your expectation, replace it with the plants that do well and give you the most enjoyment. As always, consider natives and nectar sources for the pollinators.


Photo by Susan Douthitt (Click on photos to enlarge)

One of the best parts of being part of the Garden Club of LBI is sharing ideas with other gardeners. This spring we offered two hands-on demonstrations to discuss spring garden tasks. Yes, we talked about pruning and fertilizing and bunnies eating our gardens  but, we also shared our garden stories and spent time outside together in the garden. Great way to kick off the garden season!    


Photos by Ann Calder

(l to r) Nepta (Cat’s Pajamas) & Hellebore

Frost Free Day

As the garden centers begin to put out all their beautiful flowers, it is tempting to get a little ahead of ourselves. Be aware that there are cooler season, or hardy annuals, that can take colder temperatures and that there are tropicals and heat loving annuals and vegetables that will not. 

Annuals like pansies and violas, snap dragons, primrose, ranunculus, stock and sweet alyssum are wonderful cool season annuals. They extend the growing season and offer pollinators nectar when few plants are blooming in the garden. They also compliment spring bulbs and add the much needed color to our awakening landscapes and containers. These cooler season annuals will fade when the summer temperatures rise.

When planting summer annuals, tropicals and summer vegetables (like tomatoes), you need to watch the extended forecasts and the frost free date in your planting area. The frost free date will give you a guideline for planting without the threat of frost. There are many resources online that can help with the timeline.The National Gardening Association suggests that zip code 08008 will have a 90% chance to be frost free after April 23rd. But, always be aware of your individual plants’ needs. Tomatoes and most annuals like hot weather. Night time temperatures need to be above 50 degrees. This is why many gardeners in this area use Mothers Day as their ‘safe day’.

Purchasing Plants

*Planting season is a wonderful time of the year. Have fun, experiment. Mix annuals, perennials, herbs to create beautiful combinations in your garden or in your containers.

*At the garden center, inspect plants for healthy growth and insects. And most importantly, read the label. Matching the plant’s growing requirements with your growing conditions. Pick the right plant for the right place.

*Refresh your soil with amendments like compost and raised bed mix. For containers, use a potting mix designed for containers, not garden soil or last year’s potting soil.

Horticulture at the May 2022 Standard Flower Show

Photos: Jeannette Michelson