Tuesday, June 12, 2012

New Blog Site

Our blog has changed locations. Be sure to catch up with all the Rochester Civic Garden Center news and our timely gardening articles at our new blog site:



Thanks for reading and see you at our new site soon!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Shirley's Christmas Snowball Cookies

She wishes we didn't call them that, saying she got the recipe from a magazine years ago. But that's what we call these cookies at RCGC, remembering them fondly from the many times former Board member Shirley Dumbauld brought them to our Christmas parties. I made them for our recent Christmas soiree and they were a big hit. For those of you who requested the recipe (and even if you didn't, they're really great Christmas cookies):

Christmas Snowball Cookies
1 C butter, softened
1/4 C sifted confectioners sugar
2 tea vanilla
1 T water
2 C sifted flour
1 C chopped pecans

Confectioners' frosting:
4 C sifted confectioners' sugar
1/2 C milk (or less)

Coating: 8 oz flaked, sweetened coconut

Thoroughly cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Stir in water. Add flour and mix well. Stir in nuts. Roll into 1-inch balls. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet (they can be placed fairly close as they don't spread very much) and bake for 20 min at 300 deg, or until delicately browned. Cool completely before removing from pan. Dip in confectioners frosting and roll in flaked coconut.

Confectioners' Frosting: mix milk slowly into the sifted sugar, a little at a time, until of dipping consistency.

Yeild: about 30 cookies

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Master Class With Ellen Hornig

Master Class with Ellen Hornig

After Ellen's lectures, I realized that I've probably thrown away a good many viable perennial seeds because I didn't understand the processes they needed to go through to germinate are different than sowing vegetables and annuals. Her lecture and seed sowing demonstration in the hoop house gave me a ton of information I was lacking and inspired me to go home and start more perennials from seed.

She brought a variety of seeds from her own collection and took us through every step she uses to get them to germinate. It was a real treat to have access to so many unusual seeds and to pot them up and take them home. I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday morning.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A rare find

A couple of weeks ago while hiking at Letchworth State Park, I came across a rare find. Nestled between stands of spotted jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) and pale jewelweed (Impatiens pallida) I came across a jewelweed plant the likes of which I had not seen before. 

This plant looked like spotted jewelweed in the shape of the flowers and the leaves but it had white flowers with red spots. I've never in all my stomping about in wild places or perusing through various field guides trying to ID wild plants seen one like this. 

After some investigation, I believe it is one of two very uncommon variants of the spotted jewelweed: Impatiens capensis forma albiflora (white flowers with red spots) or Impatiens capensis forma Pease (white flowers with larger red spots/splotches). These variants are referenced here in a NYFA Newsletter  if you wish to read more.

It was very late in the day and the light was low so these pictures are not my best but hopefully you'll be able to see and enjoy this rare beauty as well!


Thursday, August 26, 2010


I recently discovered a hidden gem of a garden that is open to the public, but that seems to be little-known, even to the gardening community. It's the Memory Garden, and it's located at the back of Monroe Community Hospital at the corner of Westfall Rd. and South Ave. Parking is in the County Health Dept. lot on the left side as you come in.

This beautiful one-and-a-half- acre mini-botanic garden was started by the Alzheimer's Association eleven years ago on the site of a hospital parking lot. It's enclosed by a hedge, which gives it a peaceful, safe feeling, but which also hides it from public view.

I have written an article about the garden for the Upstate Gardeners Journal. Be on the lookout for it, but in the meantime, stop and see it for yourself. As the Michelin Guide says, it's "Worth a trip."

Mary Ruth Smith

RCGC Library Volunteer and Garden Writer

Thursday, July 8, 2010

gardening isn't for wimps

The 90 plus temperatures didn't deter these two master gardeners from showing up to work with our Thursday volunteers to help impose law and order into the perennial borders along the top of the Sunken Gardens. This is such a lovely spot, and it needs a lot of help! Many thanks to Cornell Extension Master Gardener Coordinator Karen Klingenberger for putting out the APB to all the master gardeners. Thank you for taking an interest in this project, we really appreciate your help!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Passionflower is Blooming

I'd love to tell you to come see it in the Library - but each bloom seems to last less than a day. When one opens the news travels fast here and we all go look - they are fascinating, very complex. It's got lots of buds, worth a trip just in case...

Thanks to member and Library volunteer Tina Szostak for donating the plant to the library.