Tracy Holmes photo (From left) Mavis Taylor, Melanie Rantucci and Donna Lawson with some of the newspaper articles, photos and trophies accumulated over the White Rock & District Garden Club’s 70-year history.

Deep-rooted club a growing endeavour

White Rock & District Garden Club to celebrate 70 years of showing and sharing

For longtime White Rock &District Garden Club member Mavis Taylor, practising floral art is a soothing exercise; an escape from the day’s frustrations and a chance to relax.

Donna Lawson’s flower fascination is with the “miracle” of the plants as a whole.

“I think it’s the beauty of them. I look at it and say, how did THAT come out of a seed?” she said, during a chat with Taylor and Melanie Rantucci about the club’s upcoming 70th anniversary (to be celebrated June 13 with a private garden party).

“It just makes me happy.”

For Rantucci, spring flowers strike a particular chord.

“I just love to see that first display,” she said.

It was the beauty of floral displays at the first club meeting she attended that convinced Rantucci to sign up. She never expected to one day hold the title of club president.

“We know how to pick ‘em,’” quipped Lawson.

The trio represents just a few of the non-profit club’s 60 or so active members, who meet once a month year-round (except for July and August) to talk, get involved in and learn more about all aspects of gardening.

Judged parlour shows – displays of members’ floral arrangements and garden specimens – and guest speakers are a part of the regular meetings, which are held on the second Tuesday of the month at Cranley Hall, 2141 Cranley Dr.

The club also holds classes in floral arranging, a members garden tour, outings, spring and summer shows at Semiahmoo Shopping Centre – not to mention an annual plant and bake sale.

At Christmastime, for the past 12 years, members have assembled scores of silk-flower arrangements for local care homes. Since 2015, the task of distributing them has been undertaken by the Come Share Society.

“We started with about 30 for each care home and it’s really mushroomed,” Lawson said.

She noted the effort is the only time club members work with silk flowers.

Supporting each other is also a central component of the club, the women said. Members not only share what they know, but also what they grow – from tomato plants to roses to hydrangeas, and more.

“Every member in the club has the same garden because we’ve all got from each other,” Lawson said with a laugh, describing one avid member as “all about propagating.”

Lawson is one of two club members who are certified as judges. Judging other clubs’ shows is “how I find out how good ours is,” she said.

It is far from the only garden club around.

The BC Council of Garden Clubs lists 195 member clubs, including the South Surrey Garden Club, which the White Rock club pre-dates.

The majority of the White Rock club’s members are seniors – Taylor laughed when she noted that, at 86, she has been a member for 30 years, but is not the oldest of the group. That member is 92 years old.

Rantucci, at 67, is “the young one.”

Anyone interested in horticulture is welcome to get involved. The club has an annual membership fee of $25.

For information, call 604-538-8858.

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