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In the Garden




[PHOTO]CELEBRATING ITS 50th year of hosting flower shows, the Southern Humboldt Garden Club is having a garden festival Sunday, May 20, from 2-5 p.m. at Agnes J. Johnson Elementary School in Weott. Titled "Our Golden Year," this year's flower show includes a local garden tour, school garden tour and plant sale, food booths and plant vendors with an array of unusual plants. Admission is free to all events except the private garden tour which has an admission of $5.

Long-time member Betty Thomas (in photo, on the right ), who has been with the garden club since 1954, said the flower show began in 1932 as an annual wildflower show at South Fork High School. Later a small group of gardeners began holding meetings.

"They suggested the wildflower show be changed to an annual flower show and in '53 the club organized officially," said Thomas.

She estimates the club started with roughly 20 members. Today there are 35 gardeners who come from as far south as Benbow and Fortuna to the north.

Entering the flower show during the early years was a high priority for many Southern Humboldt gardeners. In 1955 there were 40 active members in the club and the flower show had more than 1,000 entries, according to Thomas.

"In those days it was a lot of work, especially if you were the president of the club," she said. "It was terrible when we first started. When you were president you were automatically flower show chairman. You would have to do the schedule and get everything organized." Today duties are divided into separate committees with individual members heading up a committee, she said.

Flower show awards are divided into several divisions such as design and horticulture, as well as best of show for roses, irises and mixed rose bouquets. There are divisions for junior gardeners where children can enter plant specimens, miniature gardens, terrariums and potted plants.

In fact, participation by children is a highlight of the flowers show, something the club is proud of. Calling themselves the Creepy Crawlers, students from Agnes J. Johnson Elementary school tend a garden plot and a greenhouse. Each year they grow plants to sell at the show.

"The last two years the juniors have brought their plants to the show and last year they had so many that the club decided to discontinue our sale and let the juniors sell plants along with the vendors," Thomas said. All children are encouraged to enter the show. "They always get a ribbon, whatever they enter," said club member Betty Teasley (in above photo, on the left).

Teasley, who has been a member for close to 40 years, encourages gardeners from all over Humboldt County to come to the show and enter a flower or arrangement. "A lot of people come to the show and say `I have a better rose growing at home.' so I say bring it here," said Teasley. "You never know, you might win. Last year a lady from Benbow only entered two roses and she got best of show, so you never know."

Gardeners interested in entering the show can call the club at 946-2011.


  • PLANT -- May is the month to put in warm-season vegetables like corn, summer and winter squash, cucumbers, beans and basil. Plant a late crop of potatoes for fresh spuds in fall. Start an herb garden. Plan for bright summer color now by planting easy-care perennials like Shasta daisy, coreopsis, gaillardia, daylily, geum, dahlia, campanula, lupine, foxglove, nepeta, salvia.
  • FERTILIZE -- Feed perennials, shrubs and trees. Feed roses after first blooms cycle and then every 4 to 6 weeks thereafter. Feed the lawn one last time if you plan to keep it well-watered all summer long.
  • IRRIGATE -- As rains taper off, continue to irrigate newly planted shrubs and trees. Mold a basin around the trunks and soak deeply at least once a week, more often if it is excessively windy. Soaker hoses and drip irrigation tubes save time for the busy gardener.
  • BEWARE -- Warm spring days bring out many pests. Bait, trap or hand pick slugs, snails, sowbugs, earwigs and spotted cucumber beetles. The beetle resembles a lady bug, only it is green. Spray with Neem to prevent damage to beans, cucumbers and other vegetable crops. Check roses for aphids. Green cabbage worm can infest broccoli, cabbage and other cole crops. Spray with Bacillus thuringiensis if you see white butterflies flitting about your crops.
  • GROOM -- Keep roses and rhododendrons looking their best by removing spent flowers. Nip back azaleas, fuchsias, geraniums, tall marigolds, snapdragons and zinnias to keep them bushy. Prune to shape spring flowering shrubs and vines after bloom.
  • GOT WEEDS? Grab a hoe and start chopping early, before weeds go to seed. Remember the old adage: One day's seeds, seven years' weeds. Keep beds mulched to smother weeds and conserve water.

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