Gardening Club hopes to put baskets in bloom


April 28, 2002|By Sue du Pont | Sue du Pont,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IF YOU'VE ALWAYS wanted to celebrate spring by hanging a beautiful May basket or if you're looking for unique, locally grown plants for your garden, don't miss the Four Rivers Garden Clubs' annual flower mart, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday at Market Space in downtown Annapolis.

Club members dig up, divide, pot, label, price and sell homegrown plants, including perennials, bulbs and small shrubs. They also offer an assortment of cut flowers, herbs and annuals at the mart.

New to the sale -- a downtown Annapolis tradition depicted in a 1949 photograph by Marion E. Warren that hangs in the lobby of Pussers' Landing restaurant -- are floor cloths hand-painted by members, crafted garden ornaments and 18th-century holiday table decorations. Baked goods will be sold.

"Come on down to `May Mart' on April 30 and have your May basket made," says Edgewater resident Anne Pace, co-chairwoman of the event with Jenny Corckran of Sherwood Forest.

Customers can bring a basket or buy one at the flower mart, and club members will fill a basket with a wide assortment of cut flowers.

The flower mart is one of the biggest events the club organizes. Since the club was founded in 1924, members have hailed from the areas near the Magothy, Severn, South and West rivers. Almost all of the 75 members participate. The proceeds go to local organizations and finance planting projects the club carries out throughout the city.

The club has paid for beautification projects for many organizations, including London Town House and Garden, Hammond Harwood House, William Paca House and Garden, Habitat for Humanity and Anne Arundel Medical Center. Members also work with children from low-income neighborhoods on cleanup and planting projects.

"Because we are such a huge club, everyone has different interests and can marry them with their gardening," Pace said.

This spring, members Pat McHold, Leslie Baldwin, Bev Staniar and Carol Melchner represented the garden club in a fund-raiser, Art Blooms, at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. Art Blooms is an annual event that combines the beauty of flowers with art from the Walters collection.

In 13 years, the weekend event has raised more than $100,000 for the museum. The Four Rivers Garden Club has participated since 1995.

For the event, 33 garden clubs from the Mid-Atlantic region were each assigned a piece of art from the museum's collection to interpret through a floral arrangement. The Annapolis women put their creativity to work to create a floral interpretation of a bronze Roman horse head and sword. The pieces are thought to have once been part of the same equestrian monument.

According to McHold, the women decided they wanted the arrangement to be much higher than the 48-inch base the museum provided to project the power of the Roman Empire and the piece itself. They set out to build a base out of concrete, steel and bamboo onto which they would mount a piece of driftwood and then the flowers.

"... It reminded you of Rome and the Empire," said McHold, head of the club's Art Blooms committee. "The technical part of making the base was a major part of making it happen."

The driftwood, found by McHold on a Maine beach, had the general shape of a horse head and projected the strong movement of a horse. The women used red torch ginger to represent the energy of the interpretation.

In addition, they used clusters of minicarnations as discs on the bridle, and eucalyptus to show the muscular strength of the prancing horse. Protea and the bamboo in the base construction alluded to the extension of the Roman Empire into Asia. Other flowers and leaves accented the piece.

"It was spectacular," says Barbara Simmons, garden club liaison on the Women's Committee of the Walters Art Museum. In all, the piece stood nearly 80 inches high, not unlike the actual art work, which hangs almost out of reach in the museum's Greek and Roman gallery.

McHold felt that their piece was probably the most unusual because of the way the structure combined with the more traditional floral design.

"Museum docents said ours was one that the men stopped and looked at. It was very powerful, a strong piece," she said.

Club information: 410-757-1060.

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