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Workshops on care, mounting of flowers highlight Garden Club's Floral Design & Horticulture Exhibit – The Advocate

A library visitor walks through the Gonzales Garden Club’s Floral Design and Horticulture Exhibit April 12 at the Ascension Parish Library’s Gonzales location.
This year’s Floral Design and Horticulture Exhibit theme was Garden Inspiration. The display includes floral designs in niches, container plants and horticulture specimens in vases.
Marilyn Rice cell, at left, waits as Patti Mouton take photos during the Gonzales Garden Club workshop at the Ascension Parish Library. 
Gonzales Garden Club’s Marilyn Rice’s uses these miniature arrangements April 12 during her talk at the workshop.
A visitor to the Gonzales Garden Club’s Floral Design and Horticulture Exhibit votes for her favorite floral display April 12. The winners will be announced in May.
Simple flowers in tiny vases on display April 12 at the Gonzales Garden Club’s display at the Ascension Parish Library’s Gonzales branch.
Ascension Parish Library patrons view the Gonzales Garden Club’s Floral Design and Horticulture Exhibit April 12.
A library visitor walks through the Gonzales Garden Club’s Floral Design and Horticulture Exhibit April 12 at the Ascension Parish Library’s Gonzales location.
This year’s Floral Design and Horticulture Exhibit theme was Garden Inspiration. The display includes floral designs in niches, container plants and horticulture specimens in vases.
Marilyn Rice cell, at left, waits as Patti Mouton take photos during the Gonzales Garden Club workshop at the Ascension Parish Library. 
Gonzales Garden Club’s Marilyn Rice’s uses these miniature arrangements April 12 during her talk at the workshop.
A visitor to the Gonzales Garden Club’s Floral Design and Horticulture Exhibit votes for her favorite floral display April 12. The winners will be announced in May.
Simple flowers in tiny vases on display April 12 at the Gonzales Garden Club’s display at the Ascension Parish Library’s Gonzales branch.
Ascension Parish Library patrons view the Gonzales Garden Club’s Floral Design and Horticulture Exhibit April 12.
The Gonzales Garden Club presented a workshop on three garden topics at the Ascension Parish Library in Gonzales Library April 12.
The care and mounting of tillandsias, care and propagation of Christmas cacti and the design of miniature floral arrangements were part of the workshop.
Members Conchita Richey, Janis D’Benedetto and Marilyn Rice were the speakers. The presentations were held in conjunction with the club’s annual flower show.
This year’s Floral Design and Horticulture Exhibit theme was Garden Inspiration, conceived by club president Jamie Trisler. The display included floral designs in niches, container plants and horticulture specimens in vases. Plant material was labeled and the public was encouraged to vote for the favorite choices in each category. Winning results will be revealed at the May 3 club banquet.
Conchita Richey spoke about tillandsias. She explained that they are epiphytes, or “air plants” that get their nutrients from the air. They like filtered light and dampness, such as fog and humidity. They especially like to be spritzed with rain water. They do not like to sit in water, however; the roots will rot. They can be misted with water-soluble fertilizer at one-fourth normal strength.
A baby of a parent tillandsias plant can be separated when it is one-third the size of the parent plant. They can be mounted to wood — driftwood, a tree, a board — using string ties, wire or glue.
Janis D’Benedetto demonstrated how to propagate Christmas cacti. She said they provide a profusion of color including white, yellow, peach, pink and red and can be easily propagated and gifted to friends. She broke off a bottom stem of five leaves, or “chads” and set the base in 3 inches of loose Miracle Gro soil, added another inch of soil and watered the pot allowing all excess water to drain out. She cautioned not to pack the soil down.
She recommended that the plant be kept in the shade and protected when temperature drops below 45 degrees. Only water when the top soil becomes dry, once every week or two. She cautioned that it is better to neglect a Christmas cactus than to overwater it. It is best to propagate in late spring when the plants produce new leaves.
Marilyn Rice gets great joy from miniature floral arrangements as they are “tiny little plants for tiny little spaces”. She used tiny vases, bottles and tea cups for the tiny stems of flowers. The colors of the blooms complemented the colors of the containers. She noted, ”Adding a little white makes your other colors pop.”
Rice inserts a tiny piece of floral foam and uses a small squirt bottle to add the water. She likes to add small pieces of dried branches as accents to the mini-arrangements. She places them on windowsills, on her desk and in groups on the dining table, she said. She finds that “they don’t take up lots of space, are easy to carry, and provide a little pick-me-up during the day.”
Rice used phlox, dianthus, bougainvillea, salvia, devil’s backbone, seven sisters’ rose, miniature petunias yarrow and Peggy Martin roses in her designs.
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