Clubbin’ on a Thursday in Plant City

I knew I was doomed when I saw Al Latina and his Membership Flowers doing their push dance at the District VIII Florida Federation of Garden Clubs meeting Thursday. I just wish I’d gotten pictures. Women in hot pink, or neon yellow, of Nehi Grape purple matching sun hats and gloves will definitely turn a head!

I was a speaker at this lively group’s annual meeting, but anyone who knows me knows — I ‘m no expert.  I definitely don’t qualify as a workshop. So I say a little something about frog sex or decapitating lubbers or whatever’s going on in my garden, and then we get down to business. Which is games. I love games! And this bunch had some players.

First up — digging’ for earthworms. Or Gummi worms. And not really in dirt (since we don’t have that here) but in packing peanuts.

I have loads of critters in my garden, but nary an earthworm, so I figured the good members of FFGC VIII wouldn’t mind helping me find some. (And many thanks to Plant City Garden Club prez Eileen Reed for shooting these photos and taking names. If they’re wrong, you know who to blame!)

Gwen Pryor and Jeanne Corbin play a digging for worms game at FFCG Disrict VIII meting 2011That’s Jeanne Corbin, right, diggin’ like heck for Gummi earthworms, and her assistant, Gwen Pryor, logging her catches. They were a great team!

Dru Trahan, left, adopted a much more demure approach, with assistant Mary Grevencamp, coaching (I’m gonna guess Mary was saying. “Please, Dru, make a mess! It’s not really dirt, for goodness’ sake!”) That’s me on the right,screaming . I’m sure Dru appreciated  it.

Another hot topic among gardeners is weather. Of course! And winter? Oh my gosh. We watch those freeze forecasts and swear “I’m not gonna cover this year. No! If they can’t get by on their own, they’re gone!”

As soon as that mercury starts dropping, or when one person says, “I’m covering,” we all run out and freeze our fingers, ruin our 300-thread-count sheets, and break a lot of limbs to save our plants.

So for our second game, three veteran gardeners chose three tender perennials from the crowd and had 1 minute to cover them. They ALL did a great job. Those poor perennials were covered head to toe. Some of us wondered whether they were still breathing, until Loretta Scott did a beautiful pirouette. What a relief!

The winners (by applause) were Suzanne Caldwell (gardener) and Loretta Scott (lovely perennial). The other fantastic teams (and truly, they were fantastic) were Maida Atkins and Lucille, and Kathy Stone and Liz Miller.

If someone from FFGC can tell me who’s who in these pictures, I’ll gladly update. (Eileen!! What the heck? I told you I need help!)

For the record, I was impressed by the great good nature of the District VIII folks. They hail from Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Sarasota and Manatee counties. They do lots of great works in their communities: beautifying public spaces, raising money for scholarships, introducing kids to gardening — and that’s just scratching the surface.

They are also the NICEST group of people. If you’ve been looking for some new friends, interested in learning about gardening, or want to add some volunteer work to your resume, the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs is a great opportunity.



  1. Looks like these nice folks know how to have a good time! And I am betting there was cake. My hat is off to everyone who works to keep our public space’s beuitifull keep up the good work and know that it is appricated….Chip

    • They were a fun bunch for sure, Chip. And very good at covering plants!

      • Jill Anderson says:

        We all enjoyed your program and all the laughs it brought to our meeting. Thanks for making the trip to Plant City. And yes…WE ARE A FUN BUNCH that does great work in our communities and in our own gardens. You are welcome anytime! Blog on!
        Jill Anderson
        Florida Federation of Garden Clubs
        District VIII, Director

        • Thank you, Jill! Al and his “flowers” had me practically falling out of my chair laughing. What a great experience. Meeting so many nice people always recharges my batteries.

  2. Baby’s in my garden; my outside cat had kitten’s and now I have babys playing in my garden. I know I should not feed strays but I can’t help myself. We have had 6 stays fixed but as we know there is always one more. Mom out did herself in cuteness.

    • Kudos to you for fixing the cats! I hope you’ve discovered the Animal Coalition of Tampa — a great non-profit on Lemon Street near downtown Tampa. They’re all about getting strays fixed for really, really cheap.
      Who knew cats love fresh broccoli and carrots?

  3. I did! I have a cat that will knock you over for a corn cobb. Last.year Diane I was outside talking about what was taking bites out of our srawberrys when our neighbors cat right in frount of us took a bite out of one of our berrys. I have tonight off so I worked in the garden some this afternoon mostly played with the kittens …..Chip.

Speak Your Mind