HCC Flower and Garden show good for business

March 09, 2013|By MEG H. PARTINGTON |
  • By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer Jessica Snyder, owner of Guten Tag in Funkstown, is one of about 90 vendors who will display their wares at the Hagerstown Community College Alumni Association's 19th annual Flower and Garden Show.
Ric Dugan /

After five years of exhibiting her wares at the Hagerstown Community College Alumni Association's Flower and Garden Show, Jessica Snyder expects lots of good days for her business after the event concludes.

"We generally get really busy right after the flower and garden show," said Snyder, describing it as a spring kickoff of sorts for her business, Guten Tag, at 4 Frederick Road in Funkstown.

The HCC Flower and Garden Show will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 16, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 17, at the Athletic, Recreation and Community Center.

The store's name means "good day" in German, a nod to the German history of the town in which it's situated and to Snyder's heritage. She opened the store 3 1/2 years ago, after her father and brother spent 18 months renovating the building, which was constructed about 1850.

The Boonsboro native, who now lives in Hagerstown, said she adds natural elements such as moss and ivy to vintage-inspired pieces to create items that are functional and decorative. She imports items from as far away as Sweden, but also shops locally at places like The Salvation Army.

Before she opened her shop, she had a booth at Valley Antiques and Uniques in Funkstown. Her first exhibits at the flower and garden show were at the booth her parents — Russ and Sharon Neff of Boonsboro — had there for their business, Aladdin Awards in Hagerstown.

Guten Tag's display at the show now takes up five spaces, or about 500 square feet, in HCC's Athletic, Recreation and Community Center.

"We change it every year," Snyder said of her booth. "Everything is like a little vignette," such as miniature bedrooms or tea party scenes.

Visitors to her open-ended space can expect to see plenty of vintage furniture; European cottage-looking pieces; finials; small items such as teacups filled with succulents like hens and chicks and sedum; and Easter decorations, including more than 100 bunnies, some made of aged ceramics and terra cotta. They likely will see some of the handiwork of her brother, Patrick Neff of Hagerstown, who makes furniture, birdhouses and planters for the shop.

"It's very stressful in the time leading up to the event," said Snyder, who arrives at the ARCC at about 7 a.m. the Friday before the show to set up and stays until she is kicked out.

But when people gasp with delight as they enter her space, "it makes it all worth it," she said.

Getting 'Clipped'

Snyder will be one of about 90 vendors at this year's flower and garden show, the theme of which is "Celebrate the Season" — that season being spring — said John Benchoff, chairman of the event.

Others will offer lawn and garden equipment, pottery, statues, landscaping, tree services, stone products, pools, spas, outdoor furniture, flowers, wild bird products and gourmet gifts from the garden.

New this year is the "Clipped" competition, which will be at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 17. Fashioned in the style of the Food Network's "Chopped," four contestants will compete in three timed tasks: posies and produce, wedding bouquet and corsage/boutonniere, and interpretation of art, said Judy Kofoet, who is coordinating the competition. The champion will be given the honor of selecting a garden in the Tri-State area to receive a $75 donation.

"Clipped" is being emceed by Denny Warrenfeltz, owner of Roostervane Gardens in Funkstown, who also rounded up the contestants and judges.

"We're kind of feeling our way along," Kofoet said of the new competition. "I think it will be fun."

The flower and garden show also will offer a gardening and activity area for children, and lunch and snacks will be available.

Those who want to do more than feast their eyes on garden-related goods can fill their minds with information at one of the many seminars being offered each day of the show.

One of those learning sessions — "Garden Photography: Tips and Tricks," also at 1 p.m. March 17 — will be led by Craig Camp, a Master Gardener who lives in Keedysville. He made a similar presentation at last year's show.

Camp has been a photographer for about four decades and started teaching digital photography classes once a month to his fellow Washington County Master Gardeners in midsummer 2012.

"I wouldn't classify myself as a professional," said Camp, though he has sold some of his work at events and photographed a few weddings.

"Almost everybody stands in front of something and aims a camera at it," Camp said.

During his presentation, he will encourage people to try a new approach, using different angles and positioning their cameras relative to lighting. He'll also talk about shooting silhouettes and close-ups, and making the most of one's camera.

"Virtually everybody has a different camera," Camp said, so he addresses general terminology and guides people on how to use basic digital camera functions.

He said people are welcome to bring cameras to his presentation, adding that there will be plenty of subject matter at the show to hone garden-photography skills.

In addition to teaching photographic techniques to Master Gardeners, Camp takes pictures of the group's projects, "a horticultural smorgasbord" that includes maintaining the four-square garden at the Rural Heritage Museum on the grounds of the Washington County Agricultural Education Center in Boonsboro, teaching girls living at San Mar Children's Home about gardening and working with patients in the gardens at the Western Maryland Hospital Center.

Now in his third year as a Master Gardener, Camp said that while he gained knowledge from the classes he's taken, "Where you really learn a lot the master gardeners as a group are just spouting out free information." The group he described as a "close-knit family" teaches people good gardening techniques through workshops, demonstration gardens, plant clinics and events.

Growing support for campus projects

Proceeds from the flower and garden show will be used for the HCC Alumni Center project, which the alumni association hopes to build on the campus in the next few years, said Lisa Stewart, coordinator of alumni relations and annual giving at HCC. The center will include a venue with seating capacity for 375, and will give alumni a place to meet and hold events and reunions, she said. It also will house Hagers-town Junior College and HCC memorabilia, as well as offices for the alumni association, HCC Foundation Inc. and the HCC Volunteer Corps.

The building also will feature a boardroom, restrooms, a kitchen facility and storage space, she added.

To date, the show has netted more than $497,000, which has gone to campus projects supported by the alumni association, including the HCC Alumni Amphitheater, Stewart said.

If you go ...

What: Hagerstown Community College Alumni Association's 19th annual Flower and Garden Show

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 16; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 17 

Where: HCC's Athletic, Recreation and Community Center, off Robinwood Drive, east of Hagerstown

Cost: $4 for adults; free for those younger than 12

For more information: Call Lisa Stewart at 240-500-2346 or send an email to


The Hagerstown Community College Alumni Association is offering the following seminars and events during the 19th annual Flower and Garden Show:

Saturday, March 16

 10 a.m. — "Explaining the Processes and Benefits of Decorative Concrete Edging" with Robert Warner, Warner's Curb Appeal

 11 a.m. — "Feng Shui in the Garden" with Jodi Spickler, Home Staging by Jodi

 Noon — "Herbs for Use and Delight" with Madeline Wadja, Willow Pond Farm and Herb Society of America

 1 p.m. — "Defending the Garden Against Wildlife" with Paul McMichael, Garden Commander

 2 p.m. — "Vegetable Gardening For Beginners: The Square Foot Method" with Chuck Koeneke, Washington County Master Gardener

 3 p.m. — "Birds, Nesting Boxes and Feeders" with Fred Turner, owner of Bird Condos

Sunday, March 17

 11 a.m. — "Becoming Bay-Wise: Creating Healthy, Sustainable Gardens" with Annette Ipsan, University of Maryland Extension, Washington County

 Noon — "Native Plants for Home Landscape" with Christine Price-Abelow of Smithsonian Gardens and the National Museum of the American Indian

 1 p.m. — "Clipped" competition

 1 p.m. —"Garden Photography: Tips and Tricks" with Craig Camp, Washington County Master Gardener

 2 p.m. — "The Importance of Incorporating Landscapes in Your Garden and Outdoor Spaces" with Michelle Liefke, Mountain View Solar

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