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HCC Flower and Garden show

March 14, 2002|BY KEVIN CLAPP

Martha Meehan and Laurie Morkved see it time and again: gardening neophytes with the mistaken belief that horticultural prowess requires little more than a shovel and garden hose.

"You just don't drop it in a pot and yell 'bonsai' five times," says Meehan, owner of Meehan's Miniatures in Boonsboro.

"Unfortunately, a lot of people impulse buy these plants, dig a hole and jam 'em in there," offers Morkved, a landscape designer and horticulturist at Ott's Horticulture Center in Chewsville. "There's a lot of things to it. You want it to live there 10, 20, 30 years - 100 years if it's a tree. If you don't do a little preparation before you start digging, that plant's not going to be around."

Yup, there's an awful lot of knowledge needed to keep a green thumb from withering away. For those with either a passion or a passing interest in all things lawn and garden-y, the Hagerstown Community College Alumni Association is once again preparing its Flower and Garden Show.

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From bonsai trees to water gardening, planting techniques to Christmas trees, the eighth annual show, held this weekend in HCC's Athletic, Recreation and Community Center, crosses the horticultural spectrum to provide more than just garden variety information.

"When we first started out we said wouldn't it be fun if we could have a little flower show, make a couple of thousand dollars," remembers Lisa Stewart, alumni coordinator. "(Now) every year we all sit back with a smile on our face and think 'Dag, I don't believe we did this.'"

That's because the show seems to have grown at a clip rivaled only by Little Shop of Horror's Audrey II. The event draws more people and raises more money for the association each year.

Last year's tallies were 4,800 people and $27,000, numbers Stewart expects to exceed this year as visitors peruse booths in the ARCC or sit in on one of several workshops staggered throughout the weekend.

On Sunday afternoon, Meehan will present what she calls "Bonsai 101," a beginners tutorial for those interested in taking up bonsai care as a hobby.

She will cover styling the tree, what is needed to care for a tree and other requirements of raising a prosperous bonsai.

She'll also bring along sample plants to illustrate all that can be done with bonsai. One tip she has is to not get discouraged when first starting out.

"Most people who have been doing bonsai for many, many years have killed many trees," Meehan says. "That's the only way you learn."

Calling the event a nice lead-in to spring, Stewart says the show is effective because it provides local and regional contacts for people looking to investigate all topics related to lawn care.

Eager to answer questions during the show, Morkved says a little education and research can save time and frustration later.

"Our world is such a hurry, hurry, hurry rat race. We just want to get it done, but when it comes to planting and landscaping, whether you invest a couple hundred dollars or a couple thousand dollars, if you don't do it correctly it's not going to do you any good," she says. "It might not die, but it's not going to grow correctly.

"The show will cover pretty much everything you need, so you should be able to find someone to answer any question you have."

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