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Garden Club's Daffodil Show to travel to Winchester

Diane Kelly cleans a planting of daffodils in the backyard of her Stephens City home. Rich Cooley/Daily (Buy photo)

By Josette Keelor

For the first time in known history, the Garden Club of Virginia will hold its annual Daffodil Show in Winchester. It also could be the first time organizers feared for the inclusion of daffodils.

The 80th annual show will be in the Millwood Station Event Center at 252 Costello Drive in Winchester, and co-chairs Suzi Oliver and Diane Kelly assured that the flowers of honor will be there -- if not a little late to arrive.

"Usually by this time we have daffodils," Oliver said on a recent chilly afternoon. But since gardeners and daffodil breeders from all over Virginia will be there, she's not worried for the outcome.

"We might not have a big selection, but there will be daffodils," she said.

Still, until recently, area gardens have been obstinately bare, so the appearance of telltale yellow, pink and orange trumpets with their strong buttery scent has been long overdue.

"The show has always been held in the first week of April, and it's never been a problem," Oliver said.

"Until this year," Kelly added.

This year also happens to be the 80th anniversary of the Little Garden Club, so Oliver and Kelly have some extra details planned.

Designers' flower arrangements will honor the Little Garden Club by celebrating book titles that also have "little" in their name, like "Little Women," "The Little House on the Prairie" and "The Little Engine The Could."

Students from the Environmental Science and Ecology department at John Handley High School in Winchester will contribute an exhibit of flowers they grew at the school from bulbs donated by Brent and Becky's Bulbs of Gloucester.

Usually there are about 1,500 stems at the show, with almost 70 arrangements to be judged.

Those competing in the juried show needed to sign up before March 24, but on April 1 and 2, community members are welcome to bring their daffodils to show.

Children can participate in Junior Artistic Classes for ages 7 to 9 and 10 to 13, learning how to arrange flowers and then how to show them. The workshops, limited to five children each, will be held at 6 p.m. March 31 at the Gateway Holiday Inn, 333 Front Royal Pike. March 31. Registration is required, and children are asked to bring clippers.

The Daffodil Show is the largest of three flower shows by the Garden Club of Virginia. It's been a success since 1938, Kelly said, "because at the end of a long winter, gardeners that grow and hybridize daffodils were just so excited to be showing what they had done."

Test collections of daffodils from hybridizers were expensive at the time -- $80 for maybe 10 bulbs, said Kelly. The garden club began buying test collections, and the show found its start. Then American Daffodil Society joined in the early 1950s.

"This is where they show them," Kelly said, "and this is where the better varieties that have lasted years and years, this is where you can see them."

The Daffodil Show will be open to the public from 2 to 6 p.m. April 1 and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 2. Membership to the Garden Club of Virginia is not needed, and horticulture entries do not require pre-registration. For more information, call 540 303-4675 or visit www.gcvirginia.org. For information about the children's workshops, call Jackie Koirtyohann at 540-869-1169. To pre-register for workshops, call Martha Parthemos at 540-667-4106.

Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com


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