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Giveaway plants seeds of gardening

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

Gardeners weren't daunted by a few raindrops at the Prairie Garden Club's annual plant giveaway Thursday morning.

"They were here before I was," said Brenda Slaughter, garden club president.

The line of people started forming at 7:30 a.m., an hour before the official start, said Pete Felten.

The alley behind his Stone Gallery has been the site of the giveaway for more than 25 years, he said.

Not a garden club member himself, he said some of his friends are.

Joyce and Norbert Plante came early for plants to get their grandsons, ages 11 and 12, interested in gardening.

"It's a nice way to get them started," Joyce Plante said.

This was Flo Beilman's first time at the giveaway. Her sister came last year and encouraged her to come.

"I love flowers," she said.

The annuals Kathy Clifton got last year flourished, so she came back for more.

"They told me they would reseed, and I was so impressed with the quality," Clifton said.

Slaughter estimated the club had approximately 300 plants to give away. They ranged from mint and lamb's ear in small pots to boxes of field grown irises.

"Members dig up their plants for the giveaway," she said.

Club member Kathy Hempler has been bringing plants to the event for 18 years.

This year, she brought a small truckload, 99 plants.

"I just love to play in the dirt. It's very fulfilling," Hempler said.

It gives people an awareness of what can be grown locally, she said of the annual event.

Some attending carried away several plants, and others were looking for just one or two.

The garden club, which was federated in 1948, meets monthly and does a number of community projects, Slaughter said.

They are planning a "Plant it Pink" bed at Eighth and Vine later this spring.