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Gardeners set to bloom at fundraiser

Agricultural evening to include flower arranging display, auction, plant sale

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A long-time agricultural group is hoping its annual fundraiser will seed the interest of green-thumbed local residents.


The St. Vital Agricultural Society will hold A Gardener’s Evening at St. Mary’s Road United Church (613 St. Mary’s Rd.) on Wed., May 15 at 7:30 p.m.


The evening will include a demonstration by Jim Fuller, owner of Top Hat Florist (569 St Mary’s Rd.), who will show guests how to make flower arrangements for the home using garden flowers and offer tricks of the trade to produce colourful, long-lasting results, organizers say.


There will also be a sale of tomato plants, perennials and assorted bedding plants, and a silent auction featuring gardening-themed prizes donated by various businesses.


Val Johnson, a past president and active member of the society for more than 30 years, said the public event will help offset the non-profit’s costs and engage green-thumbed guests.


"It’s aimed at anyone interested in gardening or flower arranging. It’s a nice evening out. I hope we get a nice day for it," said Johnson, who lives in St. Vital, noting that numerous garden centres will donate plants and auction prizes.


Johnson emphasized the continued importance of the society, which was formed in 1909 when a group of local men formed the Pastime Club at a time when St. Vital was an agricultural and market garden area, which utilized the rich farmland in the region to serve the city.


"For me, keeping the society going is very important. It’s satisfying to be involved and meets a need in the gardening community here. Part of our mission statement is to promote agriculture and horticulture," she said, noting the society’s current membership is around 80 and new blood is always welcome.


And despite the slow onset of spring, Johnson — who started planning for gardening season weeks ago — can’t wait to get going in her yard.


"You can’t really argue with Mother Nature. We can’t do anything about the weather. I feel for the farmers. For us, it’s just a hobby," Johnson said.


"At the beginning of April, I ordered and planted my seeds, which are downstairs under lights. I’m hoping to put them outside soon."


Fuller, who has owned Top Hat Florist for more than 45 years, aims to make 36 floral arrangements and bring them to the event to explain how he put them together.


"I’ll be talking about the base of the arrangement up to the importance of greening and what flowers to use," said Fuller, who made the floral bouquets held by the Queen on her last two Winnipeg visits. "I can teach anyone to make a floral arrangement. A love of flowers is the most important thing."


Fuller also pointed to the strength of the gardening community in St. Vital.


"It’s huge here. There are a lot of diehards with the most beautiful gardens. It’s absolutely amazing the things they can grow here."


Admission to the event is $3, which will include coffee, tea and cookies. For more information, call Val at 204-253-0448, Brenda at 204-257-6372 or visit www.svas.ca

simon.fuller@canstarnews.com

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Twitter: @lanceWPG

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