Saturday April 9, 2011

Voices 

Petal Perfect

Garden Club Flower Show intoxicates mall shoppers

Staff/Voice

 

Exquisite flowers all grown locally by members of the Chilliwack Garden Club.

 

tamin, pistils, phloem and xylem are all words in a days work for enthusiasts competing in the 64th Annual Spring Flower Show at Chilliwack Mall Friday.

The event brought a huge display of over one-hundred different, member-grown, cut flowers for judges to sniff, study and scrutinize.

The cut flowers must all be cultivated by the entrant and the Floral Arts segment of the show's competition features arranged flowers which can also be bought. It sounds easy but it isn't. Judges look for things like marks on leaves or flowers left by inclement weather, imperfections in petals and so on.

Show judges are put through rigorous two-year training program and as part of their portfolio, must have exhibited and won first place in multiple shows plus they need to be at a certain level in order to be accredited. Once they receive status, they are then able to join the The Society of Horticulture and Floral Design Judges of BC who are responsible for maintaining show competition standards in the province.

When a judge checks the entry, they also leave invaluable advice on the entrants card which the grower can then use to improve their plant.

Last year, Dorothy Belfry, Show Secretary, told The Voice that the club is all about fun and education. Members don't go into a flower show cold. They do some warm-up practice shows at the club before an event like the one at the mall.

"Each month we have a 'little show' were we learn how to do it before we do a bigger show which is more competitive," said Belfry. "We meet monthly and learn to  be better gardeners. We learn how to be container gardens, how to be fruit and vegetable gardeners. We also have a Floral Art Club which is separate."

CGC also hosts a June Rose and Flower Show and a Fall Show and have assorted activities such as chartered bus trips and "Open Gardens" where members open their gardens to viewing by club members. The club also assists UFV horticulture students with bursaries from time to time through money raised at plant sales.

The 140-strong CGC holds monthly meetings which usually feature Q&A with guest speakers like local garden expert like Brian Minter, a Grow & Show of cut flowers, floral arrangements and a plant sale table. Members earn points throughout the year at the various club events and later recognized for their individual efforts.

"People interested in learning about any type of gardening, whether it's pruning fruit trees, or, how do I manage moss in my lawn or how do I start my seeds indoors if I want to grow annuals?" said Belfry. "You can learn any of those things, not just from the speakers, but we have really good gardeners and they are so available to help people."

The CGC meets at 7:30 pm every second Wednesday (except January, July and August) at Cooke's Presbyterian Church on Wellington Ave. New members are always welcome. To cover costs like their monthly newsletter, yearly membership fees are $25/single person or $30/family and due in February. The Annual General Meeting is in November when new executive members are elected to the board and there is usually a summer picnic.

The Chilliwack Mall generously donates gift certificates for show winners.

For more information visit the CGC website: www.icangarden.com/clubs/CGC

See more show photos below.

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