The Official Newsletter of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Garden Club of Ithaca, New York
The Liberty Hyde Bailey Garden Club of Ithaca meets each month, on the third Tuesday (second Tuesday in May and December) at the Horton Room in the Floriculture Greenhouse, Tower Road Cornell University Ithaca, New York. 
The Club is open to all gardeners. Visitors are welcome.

Volume 44 Number 8                                                                                                      August 2005

                 2005 Officers
President Debi Lampman
Past President and Treasurer Elke Schofield
First Vice President Ray Fox
Second Vice President  Elizabeth Owens-Roe
Recording Secretary  Helen Swank
Editor of the Baileyan and Webmaster Carla Hegeman Crim
Corresponding Secretary  Cliff Manchester
 Directors Ken Devine (2005)
Ruth Doll (2004)
Dave Farmer (2003)
 Regional President Debra Nero 

This month:

August 16th
Garden Visit

~6:00 p.m. at Minns Gardens
Tower Road, Cornell University Campus


A panoramic view of Minns Garden

Garden Visit: Meet ~6:00 pm at Minns Garden (Tower Road, Cornell Campus) -  We will have refreshments and a business meeting in the Plant Science building. 

Minns Garden is named for the first instructor on herbaceous plant materials at the Cornell College of Agriculture (now the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences), Lua A. Minns. Ms. Minns practiced a "learning by doing" technique with horticulture students by establishing a seasonal garden.  In 1960, the Minns Garden was moved to its current location, in front of the Plant Science Building next to Tower Road. There are several other gardens within walking distance from Plant Science Building (The Dean's Garden, Hidden Garden, Andrew D. White Garden, Mary Rockwell, Azalea Garden, Dwarf Conifer Garden). 

Refreshments will be provided by the Crims.

Next Meeting: September 20th, 2005 - Perennial Exchange, Seed List

Welcome New Members!

We are pleased to welcome Emily Franco and Jase Baese to the club!  Emily works a liason between the Statler and the Culinary Institute of America, and Jase is a network administrator in the horticulture department.  They are restoring a stately manor on Peruville Road, and are looking forward to developing the gardens. They have an 18 month old daughter, Anna. 

Topics for discussion...

Recently, a couple of issues have be have come up with regards to club finances and activities. It is crucial that all member have a voice in important decisions.  If you are unable to attend the meetings, please contact one of the board members with your input.

1) Dues increase.  TGOA/MGCOA has increased the annual dues from $20 (individual)/$30 (family) to  $30 (individual /$45 (family).  Currently, our members pay the national dues + $10 local dues.  That means that a 2006 membership will cost $40 (individual)/$55 (family).  Such an increase may be a financial hardship for some, and we do not want to lose valuable members.  To offset the increase, we are considering offering a few “scholarships” that will be a private matter between the president, treasurer, and the member.  Down the line, we can evaluate the benefits of membership in TGOA/MGOA.  Deb Nero is a Regional President, and can address/voice our concerns.

2) Seedlings.  At the last meeting, concerns were raised about the quality/variety of seedlings, and also the financial viability of the IHS sale (see meeting minutes).  According to Debi, almost every personal request was met last year.  We purchased most of our seeds from Fedco because of pricing.  Newer varieties (such as the purple millet) may be purchased elsewhere, but will cost more.  The seedling list will be evaluated at the September meeting this year.  Please come ready to share your experiences with your LHBGC seedlings.  There will be a seedling questionnaire in the next newsletter . Also, suggestions for new varieties to try are more than welcome.

New Photos !

Photos from the picnic at Deb Nero's on 7/19/05 : 

Relaxing on Deb's patio

Dave and Ginny Farmer (in their Blueberry shirts!)

Gudy and Mike

Good food and chit-chat

Deb and her F1

Elke enjoys dessert

Mr. Louie

Ms. Anna

The beautiful view
(photo courtesy of Elke Schofield)

Elke and Helen
(photo courtesy of Elke Schofield)

Additional photos of Deb's beautiful garden


Upcoming Horticultural Events
Adirondack Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society (NARGS) Member Plant Sale/Picnic - Aug. 20th, 2005.  Bedlam Gardens, King Ferry, N.Y. They plant sale is for members only, though folks are welcome to join at this meeting for our 2005 membership year ($10). It's a great opportunity to bring in rare and special plants or seedlings of limited quantity, knowing they'll be given a good new home. You need not contribute plants to participate. Come even if you're not in the market for more plants. Our members are good cooks and Debi's gardens are inspirational.
10:00 a.m. – Arrive with plants (labeled beforehand) to price and set up. 
11:00 a.m. – Plant sale
12:00-ish – Lunch begins immediately following the sale. The Chapter will provide beverages but you should bring a dish to pass, your own table service and a lawn chair.
1:00 p.m. – Garden tour.  After lunch, Debi will give a walking tour through her extensive gardens.
Visit their website at for more information.
Plants for Life Sale - Sept. 10th  & 11th, at the Crescent under Scholkoff Field on the Cornell University campus. Volunteers (plant experts, people to set up and tear down, cashiers, and others) are needed to be on site throughout the three days.  Organizers will begin setting up for the sale early on Sept. 9. The sale itself is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 10 and 11. Volunteers are needed to help all three days at the sale, which features thousands of desirable plants.  So far, thousands of native plants have been donated by more than 40 area gardeners and nurseries throughout the region. Keep up-to-date with the plants and other items to be sold by visiting The sale benefits the Ithaca Breast Cancer Alliance, a support organization of breast cancer survivors.  To volunteer or to find out more information about the sale, e-mail or call Cindy Nicholson at 539-6923.
Southern Tier Iris Society Meeting - Sept. 10th, 10 a.m. - 12  p.m. Vestal Public Library.  Program: Iris at the 2005 AIS Convention.  Dorothy Stiefel and Vaughn Sayles will provide an array of pictures of the iris in bloom in the display gardens in St. Louis.
20th Annual CNY Tomatofest - Sept. 10th  & 11th, Emerson Park on Owasco Lake, Auburn, NY.  Visit for directions and entertainment schedule.
TGOA/MGCOA Regional Meeting - Saturday, Sept. 17th in Syracuse. Cost will probably be about $15. Final details will come out later - Deb Nero will keep us posted.  If anyone is interested in going please call/email her (H: 607-539-7062, W: 607-254-4854,
9th Annual Gathering of Gardeners - Saturday, Sept. 24th, at the Rochester Museum & Science Center, Rochester, NY.   Featured lecturers are Sydney Eddison  and David Culp, Debi says it is well worth the $45 admission fee, and the best part is visiting the vendors in the parking lot.  Visit the event website at .

Still time for blueberries!  Visit Dave and Ginny Farmer's website ( for berry updates, u-pick schedule, and yummy recipes.  To the right is a great picture of Elke at the Farmer Farm with her harvest!


From Cornell Cooperative Extension

Dividing Bearded Irises and Other Perennials -  Wed, Aug. 10, 6-8 pm - August is the right time to divide bearded and dwarf irises and some other perennials. Come prepared to work at this hands-on workshop. We will tackle donated clumps, but participants can also bring clumps from home to divide. Rain or shine (indoors if wet). Fee: $5. Limited to 15 participants; prepayment required. To register or for more information call 272-2292 or email
Compost With Confidence - FREE Outdoor Workshop Series -Last Saturday of every month (through October), noon - 1 pm, Compost Demonstration Site at the Ithaca Community Gardens (near the Farmers Market). In this free workshop series, Master Composter volunteers will provide information and give hands-on demonstrations to help you set up and manage a composting system in any setting.
August 27 - Is it done? & Using Compost
September 24 - "Stealth" (double-bin, indoor system)
October 29 - Winter Composting

Treasurer’s Report

June 2005, Submitted by Elke Schofield on 7/19/05


Membership 6/21/05
(Robert and Mary Jane Jacobson)
Tower Rd. Greenhouse expenses
Checking account as of 6/30/05 =
Petty Cash: $71.00

Meeting Minutes
Liberty Hyde Bailey Garden Club
Annual Picnic
Garden of Debra Nero
National Lifelong Member

On this pleasant July evening, 17 members and guests gathered on the lawn of Debra Nero to view the gardens and enjoy the delicious dishes brought by those attending.  Debbie led us on a tour of her grounds which revealed an immense ant nest, a cool pond, an ancient tree as well as raised flower beds.
In the absence of our President, Debbie led and informal open discussion of topics of concern to members.  Ray Fox raised questions about the annual plant sale at Ithaca High School.  Were the quality and presentation of the seedlings a good reflection of LHBGC abilities?  Others commented on the sale and berm labor which is borne by just a few senior members each year who may not be able to continue such dedicated service.  What other activities should the club consider?
It was suggested that a committee be appointed to review the club by-laws, draw up mission an vision statements, and make recommendations for presentation to the membership for discussion and approval at a future meeting.  It would also be helpful for the program chair to present an annual calendar of activities and speakers at the beginning of each club year to carry out the approved mission and vision goals.
Members present agreed to give the matter of future club direction some thought and to come to the next meeting with their suggestions for further discussion.  The president could then appoint a Review Committee to draw up any by-law changes that may be necessary and to prepare the mission and vision statements for presentation to the membership for voting.
Our thanks to Debra for hosting and enjoyable evening.
Helen E. Swank
Recording Secretary

NOTE FROM DEB:  I ended up with an extra spoon after the picnic in July - it is tablespoon size and has a purple handle.  I'll bring it to the September meeting (I'm out of town for the August meeting). Along those lines I seem to be missing a serving spoon from my table ware set (I put them out with various dishes that needed them). If someone has it can they please let me know and bring it to the September meeting.

Thanks to Ed Cobb for forwarding this article to The Baileyan.  It was orginally published in the June 21st 2005 issue of the New York Times.  The Hobbit Garden can be visited online at
July 21, 2005
A Lush Garden of Delights, Eager to Share Its Secrets
A microcosm of conifers, bog plants and winding paths concentrated on less than two acres.
Published: July 21, 2005
 Raleigh, N.C.
 FOR some Southerners, gardening once meant venturing outdoors for two weeks in March or April, when the azaleas bloomed, then dashing back inside an air-conditioned house.
The gardens that Willie Pilkington and John Edward Dilley built include a pond with Japanese iris and carnivorous pitcher plants.
Willie Pilkington and John Edward Dilley have defied the heat for 25 summers to create two successive gardens that are so dense with unexpected plants, and so inventive in their layout, that they have become a popular example of how suburbia can be transformed.
Busloads of garden lovers arrive to take tours of their property, and smaller groups make appointments to see plants rarely available at local garden centers, like dwarf conifers and carnivorous pitcher plants, and to learn from the ingenious design, which turns a short walk into an adventure. "We don't have a Longwood Gardens or Strybing Arboretum," Mr. Pilkington said, referring to two of America's great public gardens. "There is a real need for people to see what can grow here."
They did not set out to create a public garden. In 1980, when they developed their original landscape behind a 1921 bungalow here, their objective was to make the most of a limited space and to satisfy an insatiable appetite for plants.
That led to imaginative design, with hedges separating disparate collections, and a determination to test plants that they had seen and read about but that were generally not available or grown in their area, like evergreens that originate in much colder climates, or native ferns and bog plants.
"When we started we turned to books for advice, but few, and certainly none of the English books, had anything about what to plant in the South," Mr. Pilkington said. "In England two days at 80 degrees is a heat wave."
Around the time they were developing their first garden their friend J. C. Raulston, a professor of horticulture at North Carolina State University, was also testing new or untried varieties at the university's arboretum, which was named for him after his death in 1996. But back in 1980, the men were pretty much on their own. They scoured catalogs and made prodigious lists of plants they liked and hoped to try.
During periodic visits to Mr. Dilley's family farm in Blue Rock, Ohio - a state known for its commercial growers of trees and shrubs - the men would spend a good deal of their time touring nurseries. While hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains and other natural areas in North Carolina, they speculated that if certain plants thrived there, they and their cousins might also grow in their backyard.
Their garden, which measured only 50 by 80 feet, had more than a thousand species of bulbs, ground covers, ferns, perennials, vines, shrubs and ornamental trees, not to mention a vegetable garden, a greenhouse, a pergola and a stone plaza. "We had secret paths, collections of dwarf plants and pools with flowing water," said Mr. Dilley, who holds a degree in landscape horticulture from Ohio State and is an urban planner. They named it the Hobbit Garden.
From the start curious neighbors would pause on the sidewalk, hoping to be invited in for a closer look, and they always were.
The men didn't intend to tempt fate when they selected needle-leaf evergreens that originate in cool climates, like redwoods from coastal California and spruces from snow-covered mountains. They just loved such conifers and were particularly drawn to dwarf varieties. ("Dwarf" is a relative term: these are compact, slow-growing versions of normal-size trees.)
It is Mr. Dilley's contention that every garden should have theatrical moments, regardless of its size. So narrow paths lead to openings that take visitors by surprise. Many paths wind in tight "S" curves, with consecutive spaces hidden from each other by evergreen screens.
"The curtain of green foliage separated areas into subgardens, each with a unique purpose and plant collection," Mr. Dilley said. You walk for a while, through very detailed plantings, and do not realize that you are just 10 feet away from where you were moments earlier.
"Oddly enough, as the islands of evergreens matured the property appeared to become much larger and more intriguing," Mr. Dilley said.
But soon their own plant lust and the rise in the numbers of visitors obliged them to find a larger canvas. In 1995 they bought an acre and three-quarters on the outskirts of Raleigh. The property, part of a farm that still operates next door, had a brick ranch house and good sandy soil.
They put their first house up for sale with the stipulation that the garden would leave with them: they would have 30 days from the closing date to return at any time to remove any shrub, tree, vine, bulb, rock or fish. Most of the plants were dug up and placed in plastic nursery pots. The larger shrubs and trees had their root balls swathed in burlap and tied.
The great migration commenced in mid-December and continued through two weeks of intermittent rain and snow.
"We'd arrive with one load, take them off the truck and go right back for more," Mr. Pilkington said.
A few of their new neighbors brought food over to fortify them as they worked to develop one part of the garden as quickly as possible: they were eager to show that there was method to what might have seemed a summer of madness.
Nine months after they had moved everything, Hurricane Fran arrived with 80-mile-an-hour winds and 10 inches of rain. "We had just planted an 85-foot-long hedge of Nellie Stevens holly to screen the road," Mr. Dilley said. After months of cleanup and the replanting of the entire hedge, the garden began anew in 1997.
Thus began Hobbit Garden: The Sequel. The lessons from the original space were applied. Paths were widened and evergreens of the same variety were massed to present the appearance of larger, older specimens. And of course new varieties are being added all the time.
"People come here and see plants they've never seen before," Mr. Pilkington said. "One man couldn't believe there was such a thing as an evergreen dogwood and returned in winter to check for himself." It is quite likely that that visitor, like Mr. Pilkington and Mr. Dilley, tracked the plant down at a mail-order source or a specialty nursery and grows it in his garden today.
I suppose one could call gardening evangelical, when the primary objective is to spread the good word. Mr. Pilkington and Mr. Dilley have dedicated their own garden to sharing knowledge. That, and beauty.

To Every Clipping, There Is a Season 
Published: July 21, 2005
IN creating the miniature world of the Hobbit Garden, Willie Pilkington and John Edward Dilley emulated the natural hierarchy of the woodlands. Ground covers like golden Sedum makinoi Ogon and blue-flowered Laurentia fluviatilis stand in for the forest floor, and the tallest trees, including a Japanese maple and a Magnolia grandiflora, act as the canopy. The middle layer is inhabited by compact conifers like Cedrus deodara, shown at right, and small trees like Cornus kousa Wolf Eyes, a spectacular variegated dogwood.
As in the woodlands, nothing is wasted. The autumn leaves fall to the forest floor, where they break down and return nutrition and humus to the soil. The leaves also provide cover for over-wintering spring ephemerals like bloodroot, trillium and Virginia bluebells, which will bloom before the tree leaves emerge to form a shady canopy. Leaves are also raked, chopped and used as mulch for planting beds. The mulch insulates the ground in winter and summer, keeping roots moist and cool in the hot climate.
By composting prunings and lawn clippings, the men never have to bag waste and haul it to the curb. All the good stuff goes back into the garden.
Tours of the Hobbit Garden are by appointment. Information: (919) 772-6761 or

Helen Swank provided a copy of a newsletter from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.  It is full of interesting articles and tips, many of which can be found on their website  
You can also sign up for their e-newsletter online.