Garden club wins statewide awards

Members of the Emma Scott Garden Club accept several awards from the West Virginia Garden Club Inc. The annual state convention recently took place at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs. From left are Julia Cassells, B.J. McKenzie, Judy Guye Swanson, Becky Amorese, Virginia Cassells and Rachel Pingley.

ELKINS — The Emma Scott Garden Club came back home to Elkins from the 87th Annual West Virginia Garden Club Convention with several awards for projects the club had initiated throughout the 2016 season.

Emma Scott Garden Club President B.J. McKenzie, accepted the awards from West Virginia Garden Club President Judy Guye Swanson, during the convention at the The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs.

“We were very pleased to accept seven awards for various projects the club members worked on last year,” said McKenzie. “We were honored with a first-time Gold Medallion for Best Minimum Standard Flower Show.”

McKenzie noted that the Gold Medallion for Best Minimum Standard Show award was the outcome of many hours of volunteer labor and love from club members, but added Becky Amorese led the way to organize the flower show. The Honorable Mention award category was for a “Flower Show staged in a Public Building.”

“Becky Amorese organized the flower show as part of our 2016 fundraiser, Floral, Food and Fun III, held at the Davis Memorial Presbyterian Church last May,” McKenzie explained. “The flower show, as well as the fundraiser was a huge success. The 2017 event is scheduled for Saturday, May 20.”

Amorese, a long-time member of the Emma Scott Garden Club (ESGC), indicated that the revival of the small standard flower show had many purposes and the ultimate goal was to introduce new members to a flower show based on National Garden Club (NGC) rule standards and judging by accredited judges.

“We brought the flower show back into our club agenda for four general reasons: to educate club members and the viewing public; to stimulate interest in horticulture and floral design; to provide an outlet for creative expression; and to convey to the community the objectives of the National Garden Club,” Amorese explained.

Small standard flower shows are judged by NGC accredited judges by NGC standards. NGC accredited judges must complete four flower show schools to become accredited.

Of the 23 horticulture entries in last year’s small standard show, titled “Salute the Season,” 12 won blue ribbons, eight brought in a red ribbon and one a yellow ribbon. There was also one honorable mention and one entry “for display only” noted.

The 2017 Small Standard Flower Show is scheduled for May 20 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Among the other awards presented to Emma Scott Garden Club were a Presidential Award for the “Frightened Frog” program, a NGC-sponsored environmental project that focuses on the importance and sustainability of frogs and other amphibians to gardening and a Publicity Press book award that brought in a $25 certificate.

Students involved in the Youth Poetry project, sponsored by Emma Scott Garden Club, also brought in awards. Award winners were Toby Wagoner, first grade, Alexandra Barrickman, fifth grade, and Isabelle Wilkie, third grade. Wilkie also won the Grade 3 Youth Poetry for the South Atlantic Region of the National Garden Clubs, Inc.

Due to the efforts of Barbara “Bobbi” Trimboli and her ongoing work with the Elkins Mountain School, the “Starting a Youth Garden Club” recognition award and $25 was awarded to the club, as well. The National Garden Club theme, “Leap Into Action” carried through the West Virginia Garden Club convention theme, “Leap … Loving Earth, Animals & Plants.”

NGC President Sandy Robinson introduced Brenda Moore, who spoke on “Why Frogs Are Frightened” and also introduced South Atlantic Region Director Sarah Ann Parler.

Workshops included “Beginning Beekeeping” by Mark Samples and “Monarch Butterflies” by Emily Shirey.

The convention included the installation of new officers and district directors. Colorful centerpieces were created by the Appalachian District, and favors included brightly painted metal lizards and frogs.

The mission of the National Garden Club is to provide education and resources to its members and to promote the love of gardening.

With the passing of her presidency of the West Virginia Garden Club this year, Judy Guye Swanson hopes the 90 clubs in West Virginia will continue to grow and provide beautification to their communities and offer scholarships to students majoring in environmental studies.

“Above all,” she said, “I hope they continue to instill a love of gardening to all.”