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Garden Club has plenty to crow about

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By Brenda Sexton-The Courier-Herald

There was plenty to crow about at the Enumclaw Garden Club's 42nd annual Breakfast for the Birds Feb. 21 in the Enumclaw High commons.

First there was the opening song and dance by chairpersons Maribeth Vadney and Connie McDonald, who dressed like black crows.

Next there was the turnout, estimated at 250 from Enumclaw and across the Pacific Northwest.

And finally, it was the dollar amount. The breakfast is a fund raiser with proceeds benefiting conservation groups. This year's luncheon, raffle, silent auction and live auction, brought in around $6,000. The money will go to the Lake Wilderness Arboretum, Habitat for Humanity (Tacoma), The Nature Conservatory (Seattle), The Foothills Trail Project, Make a Difference Day, Garrett Park in Enumclaw and the Enumclaw High School (for use of its space).

Just as important as the money raised is the fun the group has, especially with its hat parade which brings out the clever, the beautiful and the crazy.

Enumclaw Garden Club member Clerice Gill won the Ponds and Puddles category for her hat, which came complete with wind chimes.

Enumclaw's Sheri Dingman won the Compost and Brush Pile for her entry which included all the things one would find in a compost pile including coffee grounds, egg shells and other stinking stuff.

Auburn's Fran Gould heated up the competition in the Colorful and Tropical category when she went above and beyond carrying the theme from her hat into her total ensemble.

The Fish Eating and the Sat award went to Eastbrook Garden Club's Joan Hanson. Her headwear lured the judges with a crab, a fish and a fishing pole.

Enumclaw's Shirley Heisserman won the award in the Noisy and Irritating division for the tiny, chirping friend mounted on her hat.

Enumclaw's Gail Pope won the Sweet Little Buddy category, despite the fact that her tiny bird friend kept flying the coop.

Joanne Hopper of the Crestview Garden Club of West Seattle won the final category of the day, the Night Time award. Her inky, feathery, vintage-look cap was studded with shimmering rhinestones.

And 94-year-old Sophie Frause of Des Moines earned an honorable mention for her hat, which was entered in two categories.

Awards weren't handed out just to those donning bird- and garden-themed head covers. Eleanor Perazzo was named Queen for the Day and wandered the event with a tiara. Perazzo has been a member since 1992 and for many of those years has created the ceramic, table centerpieces for the event.

A Breakfast for the Birds is not complete without a guest speaker. Judy Bennett of Rockridge Orchard and Bamboo Grove spoke to the group about edible landscaping. Prefacing her piece with the statement, “farming should never be boring,” Bennett talked about exotic edibles anyone can grow in their yard. Bennett and her husband Wade own 40 acres outside Enumclaw where they crow more than 140 crops including Asian pears, heirloom tomatoes, bamboo, figs and more. The Bennetts hit eight farmers markets in the area during the growing season.

Bennett mentioned a number of edible crops for do-it-yourself gardeners from the common strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, garlic and grapes, to the less common like shiso, mizuna, cardoon, sunchokes, sansho, ginko and lemon grass.

The garden club also announced its pre-orders for its hanging baskets will begin soon with pick up set for April 28 and its plant sale is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 5 at the corner of Cole Street and Initial Avenue in Enumclaw.

Brenda Sexton can be reached at bsexton@courierherald.com.

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