For years, Lucy Valente served as President of the Innisfil Garden Club, introducing guest speakers, arranging flower shows and special events, and when COVID hit, shepherding the club through closures and virtual meetings.
Valente passed away suddenly last year, at the age of only 63. Now that the Club has resumed in-person meetings, the Garden Club’s annual Spring Flower Show and Tea has been renamed in her honour.
On Saturday, the Lucy Valente Memorial Flower Show and Tea welcomed members and visitors to the Churchill Community Centre, for a show filled with spring blooms, and a luncheon of tea or coffee served up in china cups, with sandwiches, home-made squares and treats.
There were tulips, daffodils and narcissus, grape hyacinth and fritillaria, and exuberant flower arrangements in both Advanced and Beginner Classes.
Experienced floral designer Jenni Murrell swept the advanced classes – taking a first for ‘Adorable,’ a miniature arrangement no more than 5” in any dimension; a First and ‘Best in Show’ for ‘Spring Palette’ – a ‘satellite’ arrangement with two separate elements linked by grasses or vines; and a First for ‘Burst of Spring,’ celebrating the colours of the season.
The show wasn’t without challenges. Colder-than-average spring temperatures delayed blooming – and until the week before the event, organizers weren’t sure that they would have a full slate of entries.
Long-time member Linda Becic entered a single red tulip – but when she brought it into the exhibition hall, it was still a tightly-closed bud. The warmer indoor air temperatures were not enough to persuade the flower to open; not even blowing on the bloom worked.
It wasn’t until Becic put the stem in warm water that the tulip finally opened, just enough to win first place for Single Tulip, Red – and Best Tulip in Show.
Among the guests were MP for Barrie-Innisfil John Brassard, and Innisfil Mayor Lynn Dollin, who raised a teacup in memory of Lucy Valente.
Mike Valente was also an honoured guest at the event, sharing memories of his beloved wife of 45 years with her friends and fellow gardeners.
On Saturday, May 28, the Club will be holding their annual Plant Sale and Bake Sale at the South Innisfil Arboretum, 25 Sideroad and ShoreAcres Drive in Innisfil, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The community is invited to drop by, to purchase perennials, annuals, herbs, vegetables, native and pollinator plants, house and tropical plants donated by members, as well as great home baking – and join the club.