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Photo Courtesy of Terry Sampson
Terry Sampson, co-president of the Hesperia Garden Club, shows her Echium wildpretii, also known as 'Tower of Jewels.' With only a two-year life span, the plant grows from quarter size to basketball size its first year. In its second year it grows a 4- to 12-foot high spike and blooms red flowers; the plant dies after about six weeks.

Raising new life one plant at a time

Hesperia Garden Club fosters horticulture knowledge, friendships

Members of the Hesperia Garden Club have a passion for growing new life.

“It’s not just budding and growing plants, it’s also budding and growing friendships — it really is,” past club president Tari Blalock said.

Club members have a love of gardening and horticulture, according to Blalock, with a different speaker at each monthly club meeting covering topics such as composting, pruning roses and youth involvement.

The club plants at various locations in the city like memorial statues for “beautification” purposes, current co-president Terry Sampson said. She shares the president title with Grace Dowling.

“I like the camaraderie; I love always learning something and doing something for the community,” said club member Ruby Baker, who is eager for the Home and Garden Show on April 4 to 6.

With a desire to learn about gardening in the desert, Baker said, the club was the go-to place to get information about the different plants she could grow.

The club provides a sharing place for gardening knowledge, like the end of winter, according to Blalock, who gives the example of the Desert Willow Tree, which when in bloom signals that there’s no more frost and planting is safe.

“Lots of members in the club have a lot of information to share, you can’t learn it all in one meeting,” Lucerne Valley resident and garden club district director Sue Nolan said.

Nolan oversees all three nonprofit organization garden clubs in the High Desert including Hesperia, Cactus Wren Garden Club and Desert Crossroads Garden Club, of which she is a member. All local clubs are part of National Garden Clubs Inc.

With 65 to 70 active members, some of the club’s involvement includes: Penny Pines, a forest restoration program; high school scholarships for students with an interest in horticulture; field trips; Hesperia Days; and their own “flower, herb, cactus and plant show,” according to Sampson.

The club also has public workshops which usually occur the third Tuesday of the month and are announced at the club meetings.

One upcoming workshop will involve how to grow succulents in “odd containers” like a cork that can be put on the refrigerator, according to Nolan, while another will be decoupage on a flower pot.

“One thing we try (is) to promote the knowledge with each other and share it with other people in the community and our neighbors,” Nolan said, noting that Blalock started her own community garden.

Some members of the club are skilled with growing specific plants, such as Sampson who grows Echium wildpretii or “Tower of Jewels.”

With only a two-year life span, the plant grows from quarter size to basketball size its first year. In its second year it grows a 4- to 12-foot high spike and blooms red flowers; the plant dies after about six weeks, according to Sampson.

“It really is impressive,” Sampson said. It’s beautiful to watch.”

Baker grows the unusual flowers, Calendulas and Camellias, which are in bloom now.

“I like them and they give color in the winter and there’s no color in the winter,” Baker said. “There are very few things that bloom in the cold.”

“Patience is the biggest thing in gardening and it’s therapy,” Nolan said. “Gardening helps you relax and takes the stress away. It’s a very relaxing situation.”

The club meets at 1 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month from June through September at the Percy Bakker Community Center at 9333 E Ave. For more information, contact Sampson at 760-244-4655 or check out the Hesperia Garden Club on Facebook.


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