Garden author Colleen Plimpton gives pest control, fall color hints

By Lisa Stone
Manchester - posted Wed., Oct. 23, 2013
Lynda Tingley and Colleen Plimpton discuss tricks of the trade before the evening commences. Photo by Lisa Stone.
Lynda Tingley and Colleen Plimpton discuss tricks of the trade before the evening commences. Photo by Lisa Stone.

Most gardeners are disappointed when autumn rolls around because fall typically spells the end of garden color. But garden author and lecturer Colleen Plimpton is on a mission to teach gardeners how to maintain color throughout the seasons. Plimpton brought her message to an Oct. 21 joint meeting of the Manchester Garden Club and the Perennial Planters Organization of Manchester, which attracted a full house of more than 100 gardeners.

Plimpton’s talk on “All Season Color in the Garden” drew some enthusiastic listeners. “Fall is the dead time of the year,” said MGC Vice President Gail Secchiaroli. “We all miss the color that spring brings. I hope to learn how to keep some color to my garden.”

“After the winter, I can’t wait to get back to my gardening and add color to my yard and garden,” said MGC Membership Co-Chair Linda Snyder. “I am so happy to hear how to do that during the winter time.”

Sue Degennaro of South Windsor and Gail Bunce of Manchester came to Plimpton’s lecture even though they are not members of the MGC. “I’m hoping to hear helpful hints on floral colors that can be applied to my garden even when the rest of the vegetation seems to be asleep,” said Bunce. “I’m hoping she gets us into the holiday mood,” said Degennaro.

Along with ideas for year-round garden color, Plimpton offered recipes for homemade formulas that keep pests away from vegetation. “You mix two gallons of water with four beaten eggs, a half of a cup of Tabasco sauce and a half of a cup of Wilt Proof,” an oil that lightly coats the plans and helps the mixture to stick over time.

Plimpton kept her audience engaged with generous use of humor, evident in the title of her book about keeping deer out of the garden - “Not Tonight, Deer.” 

“I think of myself as an educator and an entertainer,” Plimpton said. “I really want the people to leave my lectures thinking that they not only got educational information, but they also got a lot of laughs during the night. I want everyone to have a great time with me.”

Plimpton ended the evening with a skit that paid homage to Beatrix Farrand, whom she described as a major contributor to America’s horticultural heritage. Farrand, the first woman landscape architect and a longtime Connecticut resident, did major landscaping for J.P. Morgan, the Rockefellers and Yale University. “I really want people to know who Farrand is and just how much she helped to change the horticulture industry in the early 1900s,” said Plimpton.

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