Local Garden Clubs Try Air Gardening

Patti Mouton
GGC Hostesses for the January meeting were Janis D'Benedetto, Ellen Richmond, Gail Lonibos, Loretta Ramirez, and Cathy Venable.

The Gonzales Garden Club held its meeting on Jan. 5 at the Gonzales Public Safety Center.  Activities included club business updates, floral design critiques, a plant exhibit, a horticultural program and a luncheon.

President Priscilla Monson’s meeting agenda included Loretta Ramirez’s committee plans for Arbor Day, Jamie Trisler’s grant proposal to alleviate needs of a horticultural school organization that lost all resources to the August Flood, Ellen Richmond’s crews’ duties at the Jambalaya Park Butterfly Garden and possible new civic development projects.

Two members presented floral designs for critique. Kat Hightower presented a vertically structured flower arrangement of budding lilies, chrysanthemums and dusty miller in a pearl teapot nestled in white tulle. Mary Jo Pohlig created a low-profile centerpiece of horizontal lines with ferns, gardenia greenery, a dianthus cluster, alstroemeria blooms, and long stem roses in a cleverly hidden recycled plastic container.

Member Conchita Richey organized an educational program, “Tillandsia aka Air Plant”. Guest Speaker Michael Seal, a Mississippi Master Gardener and Owner/Operator of The Funny Farm in Poplarville, presented an extensive exhibit of rare and unusual bromeliad varieties.  He spoke at length on the basic propagation, growth habits and creative arrangements of these plants, especially Tillandsia species, which need no soil because water and nutrients are absorbed through the leaves. Seal also demonstrated effective techniques for mounting these “air plants” on driftwood, rocks and trees as focal points in gardens.

Invited guests included members of the Ascension Parish Master Gardener Association, the Pelican Point Garden Club, and the Riverside Garden Club.  After the program, the audience browsed Seal’s inventory, consulted him on individual specimens, and selected plants to add to their personal horticultural collections.

Hosting the event were Loretta Ramirez, Janis D’Benedetto, Lorraine Gautreau, Gail Lonibos, Ellen Richmond and Cathy Venable. They offered chili samplings with accompaniments, desserts and beverages during the lunch break. In giving thanks for the meal, President Monson noted that although 2016 had been a trying year for many in Ascension, the Parish’s community spirit of generosity is bringing everyone together for a prosperous new year.'