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March in the Park: Garden Club of Cape Coral’s 10th annual event is Saturday

By Staff | Mar 8, 2018

Join the Garden Club of Cape Coral for the 10th annual March in the Park – the event of the year for green-thumb gardeners, the horiticulturally challenged and every plant lover in between – as it returns to Jaycee Park Saturday.

Featuring a variety vendors selling plants and speakers who will share their expertise, the Cape Coral Garden Club’s annual fundraiser will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Admission and parking is free.

Cape Coral Garden Club member Ginny Huffer said their annual March in the Park began as a small plant sale.

“The original idea was to raise money so we could get some scholarships to kids in schools,” she said.

Huffer said the idea stemmed from a couple of members attending a plant sale on the east coast.

“They came back and said we got to do this and that and the other,” she said. “We wanted to do merit awards to high school seniors.”

The initial years of the March in the Park event enabled the club to start with $250 awards to high school seniors. This year they are providing four $1,000 awards to high school seniors wanting to pursue a career in horticulture, botany, or something in the science world.

The event will feature more than 35 vendors and plants of all kinds ranging from palms; heliconias and bananas from Calusa Palms Nursery in Naples; native plants from All Native Garden Center in Fort Myers; perennials succulents and sub tropicals from Exotic Blossom in Punta Gouda, and plants from the Edison Ford Winter Estates nursery.

Huffer said many of the vendors are growers, providing ample opportunities for attendees to ask specific questions about a plant, or share problems they are having with their plants at home. She encourages attendees to take a picture of the plant that is not doing well and bring it to March in the Park.

“They are local growers. They know what kind of bugs are attacking at this time,” Huffer said.

The Garden Club will also have a booth with cuttings from their own members’ backyards.

“You know they are plants that are going to grow down here. These plants are all from Florida and are used to our conditions,” Huffer said.

Other vendors will feature garden art, such as as clay flower pots hand painted by Sandy Sacco of St. James City; glass jewelry from Marilyn’s Place in Arcadia and photo cards and hand sketched pictures from Pet Portraits in Cape Coral. Jars of local honey from Bee Blessed Honey based out of Sarasota and plant canned goods and jams from Judy’s Jungle based in Arcadia.

The event will also feature a slew of speakers.

Huffer said since the club has a few master gardeners as members they have always had someone on hand to answer questions and talk to people at the annual event. A few years into the event they began having formal speakers, which has attracted people who are interested in that specific topic.

At 10 a.m. students from Belle Verde Farms at Cape Coral High School with Lori Shaw will share information about moringa, plant based diets and water purification.

Huffer said the students from Cape Coral High School have a beautiful garden. She said they are making moringa tea for the event, as well as having moringa plants for sale.

Paula Novander, a master gardener and Garden Club of Cape Coral member will talk about flower arrangements created with flowers from the backyard at 11 a.m.

Huffer said Novander’s talk is kind of face-to-face.

“She’s not doing a technical talk, (but rather) a common talk to have fun with flowers,” she said.

Join John and Dale Manuel, new Garden Club of Cape Coral members and master gardeners from Indiana, as well as volunteers for the Trafalgar Middle School garden, at noon to hear about hydroponics.

Astrid Hartlieb from GreenView Aquaponics Family Farm and Apiary will speak about bee keeping at 1 p.m.

The final presentation will be given by Jeff Zimmerman from Pumps Plus McGregor Electric Motors at 2 p.m. to provide a demonstration of the use of electric motors used for fountains.

Drawings for more than 40 items will also be available at the event, with some items being donated from the vendors. Tickets are $1 a piece, or six for $5.

“They are on sale now from a Garden Club member or Saturday at the park,” Huffer said.

The opportunity drawings will be drawn every hour on the hour. She said they also have five big items that will be drawn at 3 p.m. Those items include a hand-painted rain barrel, a garden cart filled with plants and gardening material, two tickets to Broadway Palm Dinner Theater, two tickets to Edison & Ford Winter Estates, and four tickets to Cultural Park Theater.

Those individuals whose raffle ticket was chosen on the hour will be placed back into the barrel at 3 p.m. with the chance to win one of the top five prizes.

Activities for the youngsters will also be among the festivities, which includes a face painter, and take home projects for all ages.

The Garden Club of Cape Coral, which began in 1997 by Marty Ward and Beverly Ray, meets on the second Wednesday of the month at the Kiwanis Club, 360 Santa Barbara Blvd., from September through May. The gatherings begin with a 6:30 p.m. social, followed by a 7 p.m. meeting. Huffer said the meetings are open to the public and anyone can join the club.

Jaycee Park is at 4125 S.E. 20th Place.

The club, which started with 23 members, is now comprised of almost 90 individuals.

For more information, visit www.gardenclubofcapecoral.com.