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.