Gardeners deserve lots of recognition after state convention in Vicksburg

Published 2:07 am Saturday, April 28, 2012

Recognition and praise are great motivators.

Smart parents and educators use them effectively to encourage our youths to work harder, to learn and excel. Winning coaches know their value. Studies have found that they are often a better way to motivate employees in business than even a raise. And everyone associated with the recent State Garden Club Convention in Vicksburg, “History and So Much More,” deserves high praise for their efforts.

Garden club members from across the state praised the artistic accomplishments of the decorations committee, the facilities and helpful personnel at our convention center, the delicious food prepared by Palmertree Catering, Joy and Bryan Brabston’s Linden Plantation with its beautiful home and gardens and the lovely Bazsinsky House, owned and operated by David Mitchell and Andrew Dawson.

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They enjoyed and learned from the three educational workshops on city beautification presented by our city landscape architect Jeff Richardson, the Vicksburg National Military Park’s Virginia DuBowy who enlightened them concerning Wildflowers in the Trenches and Kristin Lamberson, from Strawberry Plains Audubon Center in Holly Springs, who challenged attendees to create gardens which are more attuned and aligned with nature.

All three programs featured topics of special interest to the State and National Garden Club organizations.

Scores of local garden club members from Green Hills, Hester Flowers, Morning Gardeners and Openwood Garden clubs helped with everything from guest bags and name tags to registration, preparing food for afternoon tours, and contacting businesses to acquire wonderful door prizes.

Janis Koestler, co-chairman of the event, worked with another local garden club member, Libby Beard of the Flower Center, to borrow shrubs and trays of blooming plants propagated by Bobbie Beard which added greatly to the overall beauty of the event. Master Gardeners also assisted with the garden tours.

It was a huge team effort, but Vicksburg was definitely the winner as the ladies left with a positive feeling about our city and the talented garden club members who welcomed them so graciously.

The Garden Clubs of Mississippi Inc. is a member of the National Garden Clubs Inc., the largest volunteer organization in the world. There are 6,218 clubs in 50 states, plus 49 National Affiliate and 447 International Affiliate member clubs.

Mississippi has approximately 4,000 members but many larger states have three to four times as many.

National objectives, which have been highlighted in our current State President Nancy Moore’s platform, include: Horticulture: Community Gardens and Organic Gardening; Conservation: Water Concerns, Ecosystems and recycling; the Environment: Litter Control and Entergy Conservation; Scholarships: the Garden Clubs of Mississippi Inc. give three annually to students attending Mississippi State and majoring in either Forestry, Landscape Architecture or Retail Floral Management; Landscape Design and Civic Beautification; and Pollination and the Plants in Our Gardens Which Attract Bees.

These objectives influenced many details and the table decor selected for the state convention.

Openwood Plantation Garden Club received the top Conservation Education Award, one of the four special awards given annually by the state organization.

Vicksburg clubs won several other awards as well including a first place in Butterfly Conservation by Morning Gardeners, first place in Environmental Education by Openwood Plantation, third place Food Gardening by Openwood Plantation, first place Frances VanLandingham Stewart award to Openwood Plantation for my bi-weekly gardening column in The Vicksburg Post and the Deep South Regional Horticulture Award to Openwood Plantation for their annual plant sale.

Mississippi garnered 43 Deep South Awards, the most for any state in the Deep South Region composed of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

I have chaired many events over my 38 years in Vicksburg, but this was one of the most challenging that has ever come my way. I could not have chaired the convention effectively without help from a great steering committee which met frequently for over 14 months and included Janis Koestler, Gale Waites, Pat Tisdale, Linda Styron, Tammy Allen, Kim Barnes, Michael and Becki Logue, Barbara Bagley, Darlene Lorinc, Mary Qasim, Truus Van Ryswyk, Kay Demirbilek, Virginia Whittington, Toni Stanchfield and Jeanette Ledbetter. Nor could the committee have done the excellent job they did without the help and support of so many businesses and organizations in our community.

It was a good job by all!

Openwood plant sale scheduled today

The Openwood Plantation Garden Club plant sale is scheduled today from 8 a.m. to noon at 209 Pecan Blvd. in Vicksburg. The sale will include ornamentals, perennials, annuals, trees, shrubs, roses, vegetables and herbs.