St. Albert flower and produce show gets ready to shine
By: Anna Borowiecki
| Posted: Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 06:00 am
Let it never be said that St. Albert gardeners are deterred by climate.
Despite the shockingly late winter and uncharacteristically rainy weather, local plant lovers have dug into the earth and are growing an abundance of vibrant, healthy flowers.
Anyone in a competitive mood is invited to display their profusion of blooms at the St. Albert & District Garden Club Flower and Produce Show from Aug. 17 to 18. Now in its 31st year, Summer Splendour is open all residents in the community.
Olga Matvichuk, a long-time club member who volunteered to round up trophies and ribbons, finds that the garden competition gives her an adrenalin rush.
“I like the competition and it’s exciting to see what other people grow. When you see different things, it encourages you to grow those plants. And you also develop friendships with people,” says Matvichuk.
The majority of all entrants are amateur gardeners with a passion for plants. To add challenge to the show, the club highlights a different blossom every year. This summer the flower of choice is lavatera and mallow.
Lavatera is part of the mallow family with over 1,500 species worldwide. They grow as annuals, biennials, perennials and shrubs in colours ranging from white and pink to rose and ruby.
“I’m very pleased with mine,” notes Matvichuk. “It’s growing to about three feet tall. They don’t even have aphids. I hope I can keep it for one more week for the show.”
The show has 10 major categories with numerous sub-categories. They range from flowers, vegetables, container plants and design arrangements to vegetables, fruits, culinary and a special children’s section.
The photography section tends to draw the most entries whereas the biggest, best and most unusual vegetables traditionally attract the most attention.
“Photography always has lots of interest and I’m expecting the usual good numbers. And this year we’re hoping to get more children,” says show chairman Derrick Harrison.
Despite the late start, Harrison predicts there will be a solid exhibition of lavatera, roses, lilies, rudebeckia, asters, sweet peas, marigolds and petunias.
“The heavy rains and wind flattened a lot of delphiniums and petunias are miserable after a couple days of rain,” Harrison notes.
“My three-foot lavatera got blown over. It didn’t like the heavy rain and wind. I even had to stake it.”
Once again, the club will honour winning recipients with 17 special awards and trophies as well as about $1,000 in prizes.
All interested gardeners are encouraged to enter. Everyone must register in advance to receive exhibitor and entry tags. Call 780-459-8351 for more information.
There will be a public showing at St. Albert Place on Saturday, Aug. 17 from 2 to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 18 from 12 noon to 3:30 p.m.