Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Forget the white gloves, ladies

Garden club myths persist. Even garden club members will tell you that: ladies in hats and white gloves. Yeah, right. They wear hats, all right, and gloves in the garden. But there's so much more to a garden club. These women are smart, dynamic and creative and ought to be recognized as such, as my visit with the almost century-old Four Counties Garden Club today bears out.

Forget the white gloves, ladies

Garden club myths persist. Even garden club members will tell you that: ladies in hats and white gloves. Yeah, right. They wear hats, all right, and gloves in the garden. But there's so much more to a garden club. These women are smart, dynamic and creative and ought to be recognized as such, as my visit with the almost century-old Four Counties Garden Club today bears out.

A half-dozen members got together late this morning at Mandy Swope's house in Malvern for two hours of conversation and crafts - in this case, using natural materials to make holiday ornaments for table, tree or wreath. They were working with an array of cool "found objects" - ash burrs, sea oats, wheat stems, seed pods, pussy willow, dried ferns, berries ... Some of the critter creations were more recognizable than others, others quite artful. More importantly, at least to me, there was good conversation and laughter and as one member noted, a total absence of stress, if only for two hours.

These are women who've raised families, yes, and also had careers in finance, real estate, education, interior design.

This photo shows an arrangement Mandy did earlier. Notice how simple it is and how effortlessly she seems to have transformed ordinary flowerrs into something cheery and interesting. Wouldn't you like this on your kitchen counter? (and wouldn't you love to have the time to try and make something like this?)

The Four Counties women - from Philadelphia, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties - meet once a month, have their own flower shows, invite speakers to learn about photography, floral design, horticulture. They talk and bond and, in Mandy's case and others', support each other in sorrowful times. More on this in my story on 11/16.

 

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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