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Troutman Garden Club marks 65th year with luncheon, activities
Members of the Troutman Garden Club pose for a photo at a luncheon to mark the club's 65th anniversary.By DEBBIE PAGE
Surrounded by beautiful ﬂower arrangements and unique garden features, the Troutman Garden Club ended the year-long celebration of its 65th year with a luncheon, plant exchange, and silent auction, which is its biggest fundraiser of the year.
Outgoing President Sharon “Cookie” Stahlschmidt said the ladies enjoy the fellowship as well as learning more about their mutual interests in plants and gardening.
“I didn’t even know the names of most ﬂowers two years ago! I know them all now,” she laughed.
Club members also create craft projects and garden designs. In the slower gardening seasons of fall and winter, the club members built garden areas at Serenity House in Mooresville, which was a three-year continuing project.
The talented ladies also created a garden area at Troutman Town Hall and planted a tree in ECS Park, with the assistance of the South Iredell High Interact Club. Last Christmas, they made wreathes for the Iredell County EMS station in Troutman.
September is a very busy month when the members take over the horticulture building at the annual Iredell County Fair. The volunteers design and build a beautiful garden area that is open to the public to enjoy. They also submit individual entries for a state level gardening contest, this year winning seven ﬁrst-place awards.
The club has also taken trips to enjoy the many species of ﬂowers and plants along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The gardeners also expanded their interests with a program on beekeeping this year since bees are so crucial in the pollination process.
Incoming President Norma Lee said the group is taking on another long-term project next year in association with nearby Lake Norman State Park. The group plans to have some meetings in the Visitors Center and develop plans for their garden and landscaping projects on the park grounds.
Lee is also looking forward to planting a tree next year in honor of the club’s longest serving member, Barbara Blackwelder, who joined in the early 1980s.
"I love it -- it’s my favorite thing to do!” exclaimed Blackwelder. "I wouldn’t miss garden club for anything. I enjoy it all, from our meetings to the state and local events I’ve attended.”
In 2015, Blackwelder received the Member Award of Honor from the state and South Atlantic Region, which is comprised of six states.
Member Mary Lou Goodman is a past president of the Garden Club of North Carolina, which began in 1925.
“The state organization gives scholarships to those interested in horticulture careers and supports schools. They also hold programs and support the roadside ﬂower gardens along North Carolina interstates.”
Troutman Garden Club is sponsored by the state organization and participates in state-level contests and educational program offerings.
Club member Melanie Davis, who joined in 1997, loves learning from master gardeners.
“We bring ﬂower arrangements and judge them to choose winners. These contests really help us learn the logistics of putting together beautiful arrangements.”
“We also bring specimens of different types of ﬂowers from our gardens each month,” said Davis. “This has been such a learning experience for me; it’s not just a social club. Many of our members have passed away in the last few years, and I’m so lucky to have gained a world of knowledge from them.”
Donna Auld joined recently after being invited by a member.
“I used to be an avid gardener, and it’s so much fun being with people who enjoy and same things and to meet new people.”
The 26-member club only has three spaces left for new members. The next meeting is on September 21.