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Dazzling display of love
Thanks to donors, a garden club project to plant poinsettias in memory of loved ones bursts with holiday colors.
By BETH N. GRAY, Times Correspondent
Published December 10, 2007
Fran Hester waters the poinsettias that were planted around the waterfalls at Spring Hill Drive and Commercial Way on Saturday in memory of loved ones.
[Keri Wiginton | Times]
[Keri Wiginton | Times]
Tuang Tuggey, left, and Maggie Merl help plant and water the poinsettias for the 19th Annual "Planting the Poinsettias" sponsored by the Spring Hill Garden Club in honor of lost loved ones.
SPRING HILL - Scarlet, white and pink, the bright poinsettias arrived by the armload at the waterfall entrance to Spring Hill on Saturday morning, donated and planted in memory of loved ones.
In its 19th year, the holiday project, sponsored by the Spring Hill Garden Club, has grown from six flowering specimens to more than 250.
"Each year it seems to get a little better," said Maggie Merl, 84, gardening trowel in hand. She's been digging in the dirt at the waterfall since 1983.
Merl pointed out that each plant bears a pot stake inscribed with the memorial name. Donor names go into a club record book.
Donors don't need to get down and dirty. Club members perform the nitty-gritty insertion into the freshly turned soil, fertilizing and watering.
Rose Sutherland, 65, was the de facto designer on Saturday, suggesting to another gardener, "We need some whites over here."
As several more poinsettias arrived, Sutherland said enthusiastically, "Oh, boy, let's do doubles." Her suggestion: planting a second row behind the first fringe of plantings, already full within a half-hour of the first digging.
Although Sutherland claimed not to be a professional, she said her father operated a landscaping business in Maine. She learned at his knee, on her knees. She wielded an industrial-like trowel with a stirrup grip as she prepared to position two more poinsettias.
They were delivered by Jim and Mary Waters of Timber Pines. It was the 12th year the septuagenarians had taken part to memorialize their parents. "I just think it's the neatest thing the garden club can do," Mary said with a smile.
Added Jim: "Plus, it's pretty."
Kathy Buchan, 61, also came bearing two pots. The flora were to commemorate her daughter-in-law's mother and her son's best friend, both of whom died in October. It was Buchan's first year as a proud contributor.
She gestured to the "snow" in the waterfall pool. "I think it looks pretty," she said, adding that it was apparently a prank by teenagers armed with shampoo. The bubbly brew, indeed, looked like a snowfield background for the chromatic flowers.
Garden club president Doug Brainard, gazing on the colorful outpouring of poinsettias, observed with pleasure: "It's another community event that everybody can participate in."