Columbia Garden Club celebrates plants, history

Sunday, May 23, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The Columbia Garden Club combined history and horticulture on Saturday with its Annual Flower Show, this year titled “Maplewood Memories."

Held at the historical Maplewood House, originally built in 1877, the flower show was an opportunity for club members, gardeners and plant lovers to learn about Maplewood House, enjoy plants grown by fellow Columbia residents and get new ideas for their own gardens.

Other garden shows

Central Missouri Hemerocallis (Daylily) Society and the Show Me Iris Society are having garden shows at the Boone Regional Library. The Show Me Iris Society's show is June 12, and the Central Missouri Hemerocallis (Daylily) Society's show is July 10. Both are 1-4 p.m., free and open to the public.

Cindy Deegan, eight-year member of the Columbia Garden club and five-year entrant in the show, describes her gardening as an addiction.

“It’s magic; things change so fast in a garden,” she said.

Deegan said plant fads are fickle, like shoes or sweaters, and the shows are an opportunity to acquire more popular plants. The club members find plants that they can’t find in nurseries anymore through sharing bulbs and plants. They share with fellow gardeners at their plant sales and through the garden club.

“You can go to a flower show and learn a lot,” said Karen Blackmore, president of the Columbia Garden Club and a member of the Iris and Daylily clubs of Columbia. Each flower in a show has a name on it, and this helps attendees in adding to their own gardens if they see something they like.

The show has been held at the Daniel Boone Regional Library in previous years. But this year, the club wanted to put on a placement show, which are usually held in homes, Blackmore said.

“We place the entries on the furniture or on tables, which is different than just setting entries out in a row,” Blackmore said. Entries filled the parlor, kitchen, dining room and hallway of the house.

The show included a horticulture division, a design division and a special exhibits division. The design division included five classes. Each design entry was created with the imagined tastes of the late Maplewood House inhabitants in mind and was reminiscent of the period of the house.  

The “Miss Lavinia’s Treasures” category, for example, was named after Lavinia Lenoir, who lived in Maplewood House with her husband, Frank Nifong, in the 1800s. Entries in the category were placed on several mantles in the house to be judged and admired.

Bill Crawford, former president of the Boone County Historical Society, helped with the restoration of the Maplewood House 36 years ago and was in attendance at the show on Saturday.

“We got this place restored, and now we have a flower show here,” said Crawford, who calls the Maplewood House the crown jewel of the historical society. Crawford worked as the research chief with the Missouri Conservation Department for 30 years before retiring in the 1980s.

The Columbia Garden Club currently has 67 members, mostly from the Columbia area, but also from surrounding areas such as Paris, Moberly, Jefferson City and Ashland. The club’s goals are to beautify Columbia and educate the public on gardening. Members bring flowers to the Boone Regional Library and the Wyatt Guest House at the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center each month and put on garden shows for the public.

The club also holds a spring plant sale each year to sell plants to the public. The proceeds go toward a scholarship that is awarded to a graduating high school senior from Boone County who is planning to major in horticulture at MU, Deegan said. 

The club meets at 1 p.m. on the second Monday of every month except July and August.

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