Members and guests of the Monroe Garden Club were already excited about the gorgeous “hint-of-fall” weather that greeted them on an early October morning recently. 

The twin French doors marking the entry of Bayou DeSiard Country Club were beautifully decorated in just the right fall décor — pumpkins, gourds, fall foliage, pheasant feathers, and the occasional antique lantern holding votive candles or cotton bolls.

Inside, the fall atmosphere was reinforced both in the foyer and the great hall.   

Here the ladies added mums, white mini-pumpkins, and a variety of “found” natural elements (including antlers) that shared a common color palate a pale oranges and pinks. In the great hall, the center table arrangement was grounded by wonderful pumpkins in shades from traditional orange through pale green to white. A rustic vase on the tabletop held a profusion of natural materials and blooms with leaves and mini-pumpkins peeking through. Lighted vintage lanterns completed the scene.

MGC president Vicki Robinson welcomed the group and called the meeting to order. Following the business meeting, the ladies enjoyed a delightful program filled with tips and fun presented by Heather Ganey and Andrea Hayes from The Flower Tree in Bastrop, Louisiana. The shop has been a mainstay in Bastrop for 40 years, offering beautiful arrangements for every occasion. From the first moment, it was evident to everyone that this program was going to be relaxed and fun-filled.

Ganey was the “spokesperson” for the design workshop, with Hayes spending her time completing the arrangements and assisting every way possible. The two of them are obviously an excellent team, a fact that was evident in the seamless way in which they worked together.

Several designs were constructed during the workshop, and with every one of them Ganey added a “secret tip” that would ensure success to even a beginning floral designer. The chrysanthemum, for example, is extremely popular this time of year, but it is prone to “shattering” after awhile when used in arrangements. To overcome this, Ganey showed the ladies how to drip candle wax into the center or around the bottom edges of the bloom to secure the petals. 

Ganey used dried okra pods to show how unexpected natural plant materials can enhance a design. “Cotton is seen everywhere,” Ganey said, “but okra puzzles people. They have to come close to figure out what it is!” 

Not only does Ganey use the okra in its natural state, she also paints it for special occasions —black for Halloween (“Looks like witches’ fingers poking out of a wreath!”), or red and green for Christmas.

Whether “gathering” green matter from a neigh bor’s yard or blowing roses open for a special effect, Ganey and the crew at The Flower Tree are always on the lookout for simple, unusual things to use in their designs. 

From the “the higher the hair, the nearer to God” hairspray necessary to contain shedding pampas grass to using canna leaves in place of often undependable aspidistra for curling and twisting to create texture within an arrangement, these ladies always seem to know how to solve problems!

Following the workshop, the ladies bid on the completed arrangements. The bidding was enthusiastic, and there were several very happy ladies seen leaving with their arms filled with beautiful creations.

Prior to the meeting, everyone enjoyed a delicious brunch featuring an egg, spinach, and sausage frittata; fresh fruit with muffins and coffee cake. 

The most talked-about sweet were mini lemon icebox pie nibbles — clearly delicious!

Ably co-chairing the gathering were Denise W. Gullet and Sheryl Potts. Working with them to ensure that everyone felt welcome were Leah Anders, Emily Burrows, Brenda Carso, Donna Cook, Lori Crotwell, Michael Anne Delcambre, Denise Gullet, Beverly Jarrell, Charlotte Milonski, Rhonda Miller, Sharon Mills, Ann Murray, Wendy Napoli, Sue Nawas, Kelly Oakley, Lillian Paxton, Kara Platt, Sadie Richert, and Michelle Turpentine.

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