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Culpeper Garden Club hosts end-of-summer flower show, beautifully displayed

“The Last of the Summer Wine” emerged as an apropos theme for a gorgeous, zinnia-inspired flower show hosted last week by Culpeper Garden Club.

It was the club’s first public show since the pandemic curtailed social activities here and everywhere more than two years ago, and it was certainly well-attended.

Dozens of people milled about the community room at Culpeper United Methodist Church for the Sept. 15 program held with perfect weather outside, the week before the end of summer. The first day of autumn is today.

“The results are beautiful,” said Garden Club President Marie Johnson.

Zinnias were selected to highlight based on the season.

“We hope by September they are in their full beauty coming down the stretch to end summer,” Johnson said.

The club’s corresponding secretary, Lynn King, reported all the members do their best to grow beautiful flowers and then design attractive arrangements to display.

“We’re at the mercy of nature,” she added.

Soodie Musselman is the garden club member with the most seniority, having joined back in 1988. She was president from 1989-91.

“The joy of making flowers,” Musselman said of why she joined.

She always has a garden, she added, but considers herself more of a flower designer.

“All of these women are so talented,” Musselman said. “And everybody helps everybody else.”

Zinnias bloom all summer long, she added. Other flowers were also on display along with plants and window scenes, designed by member Michelle North.

“You can see a wide range of interest of all the different ones,” Musselman said, pointing out some particularly lovely orchids. “All of the members have a different specialty and they share the knowledge. It’s important that we help one another.”

A yellow asiatic lily submission she designed was distinctly vertical—”toasting tall to summer,” read a card on the entry.

Culpeper Garden Club, founded in 1935, today has around two dozen members, both women and men. Its mission is to promote knowledge about and enjoyment of floral design and gardening, with an emphasis on environmentally responsible gardening and support of plant pollinators.

Meetings are held monthly at 2 p.m. on the third Thursday at Culpeper UMC, with judging and refreshments starting at 1:30 and always a special speaker.

Mary Dale has been a club member for 15 years. She is very interested in gardening, she said.

“It’s quite an achievement—a lot of work,” Dale added of putting together the flower show.

As for the final submissions from members, “You find the best (flower) you can find and you put in the show.”

Entries were displayed as single flowers in glass vases and in elaborate arrangements in various categories including cut flowers (zinnia, sunflower, chrysanthemum, dahlia and more) and shrub or tree branch (foliage, fruit or berry or coned).

Container grown plants were shown in combination planters, cactus, flowering plants and foliage plants.

A design category titled, “A Time of Beauty,” displayed monochromatic selections, a Summer Finale grouped mass design, Summer Storm angular designs and a creative line design, “Toasting Tall to Summer’s End.”

An education division shared exhibits on the history of the Culpeper Garden Club as well as the story of National Garden Club’s Penny Pines program, and how the national club benefits National Forests.

Culpeper Garden Club is also a member of The Virginia Federation of Garden Clubs Shenandoah District.

“Culpeper Garden Club members have a love of gardening and floral design and enjoy sharing and showing their wide variety of horticultural specimens and flower arrangements at monthly meetings, of which visitors and guests are warmly welcomed,” according to the flower show brochure.

Elizabeth Miller and Julia Kogurt will demonstrate “Holiday Designs” at the Oct. 20 meeting.

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