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Garden Club of Cape Coral is having a party

By Staff | Mar 6, 2012

The 4th Annual March in the Park event by the Garden Club of Cape Coral will be held Saturday, March 10, at Jaycee Park. Not only is it a great plant and garden art sale, but more of a garden party-style day.

“We all wear hats with flowers, and music is playing all day, so it is more of a garden party atmosphere,” said Garden Club co-president Ginny Huffer. “It’s just a fun day.”

The Garden Club event also offers an educational component – with talks on everything from master gardening to edible landscapes.

“Edible Landscapes is being presented by Todd Roy, who works at the Edison Estates Nursery,” Huffer said. “This is one of his favorites topics, and he incorporates edible plants in everyday landscapes.”

Over 50 vendors will be at the sale.

“About 22 vendors are returning from last year,” she said. “A lot of people like coming back to see their favorite vendors and get something else from that vendor.”

Huffer has been working with the vendors for the last four years, as one of the club members who got the event off the ground.

She actually starts working with them as soon as the yearly event is done for the next year.

“We also have four food vendors this year. Gramp’s Italian Kitchen is coming back, and Sunny Days Ice Cream, a kettle corn vendor and Madam Mac – with macaroni and pulled pork.”

Breakfast, lunch and snacks will all be available.

“Another thing we do is give spaces to organizations to give out information,” she said. “For example, Lee County’s Manatee Park representatives will be there and will have their ‘manatee bones,’ which they lay out on the ground to show you how big a manatee is. The kids love it, really get a kick out of it. The University of Florida Citrus Research and Education Center will also have a table there, along with the Native Plant Society.”

There is also a raffle, with a decorative rain barrel as one prize.

“Lee County Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Master Gardeners are donating the rain barrel and it is being painted by one of our club members and artist Vicki Taylor,” she said.

Another top prize is a wheelbarrow full of plants and garden tools, and plants donated by vendors will also be be raffled off during the day. Other prizes include those from restaurants, car washes, hair salons, tickets to the Edison Ford Winter Estates and Cultural Park Theater. Winners need not be present to win.

Huffer and co-president Kathy Rabassi said the event is the club’s biggest fund-raiser of the year.

Babu Mathew and Ria Benton are the co-chairs of the event this year.

“We like to provide scholarships for horticulture and environmental programs at local schools, and the event also helps support us in our other club activities,” said Benton. “We maintain the garden at City Hall, the Butterfly Garden at Cape Coral Library and the Rose Garden at the Cape Coral Historical Society. We also like to attend Cape Coral Habitat For Humanity dedications, we give them a plant a welcome them into the new homes. We get involved with Arbor Day.”

The club also sends children to is Wekiva Camp, north of Tampa. The camp is sponsored by the Florida Federated Garden Clubs, and was established 50 years ago. The children who attend are taught to respect nature and learn the fact that everything goes back to nature.

The many plant vendors will have palms, shrubs, fruit trees and native plants, Benton said.

“Some will be selling herbs and we have a vendor selling dish gardens for people who live in condos and may not have a yard, something for everyone,”

she said.

Speakers will start at 9 a.m. and will change every hour.

“This will include a master gardening program talk, and topics such as growing vegetables in Florida, growing and using herbs, a floral arranging demonstration and one on of the topics bromeliads and succulents.”

There are about 65 members of the club.

“Some are master gardeners and others are very knowledgeable and some are new to the area like me,” Benton said. “That’s why many join, to learn about the growing things in Florida.”

Benton is from Oregon, only moving here about a year and a half ago.

“I like learning about other people’s experiences with plants that work well. It’s a constant learning experience as many will find out when they move to the area.”

The event will be held at Jaycee Park with free admission and parking. For more information, contact Huffer at 540-7988 or Huffmom5@aol.com.