Gardening and winning, no matter what age

The Elverson Garden Club team members for the 2013 Philadelphia Flower Show are pictured. From left to right, seated: Robin Sowers, Lisa Cherpanick, Linda Horner and Vanessa Peterson; standing: Anne Howe, Ginger Reed, Jean Hutchinson, Wendy Fox, Shirley Hopkins and Patricia Beaton. Missing from the photo are Carla Trego, Valerie Miller, Laura Alden, Carol Simmonetti, Paul McEwen III, Steve Hutchinson and Dan Peterson. Photo courtesy of Patricia Beaton

As our plane’s wheels touched down at the Philadelphia Airport, I had just completed another goal. My goal was to return to Europe selecting different areas and excursions to tour.

This trip really had a very special meaning to me. Our group toured through beautiful France, Scotland, Ireland and, oh yes, this golden girl did kiss the Blarney Stone – quite a feat, I might add. We also toured parts of England.

England had been my dream and goal for years. As we toured through England, its cities, towns and beautiful countryside, it was so exhilarating to see the stately castles, cottages and all, especially the wonderful English gardens. Some were very formal with boxwoods and statues, others were free-flowing, but each had the owner’s touch and personality, and that is what gardens should be – what you enjoy.

As I walked through these beautiful gardens, my mind took me back to my late husband, G. Ronald Beaton, and how we loved to make new and interesting gardens in our yard. And through the years, we did incorporate an English one with a statue.

Through another garden, I reflected back to a very cold, rainy and windy night the last of February. When my son, Paul, and grandson, Paul McEwen III arrived, we loaded a large vehicle filled to the brim with trees, bushes and artifacts that were heading to the International Flower Show in Philadelphia. Imagine that! The show’s theme: Brilliant Britain.

Very early next morning, a caravan of people and vehicles headed for Philadelphia. This golden girl was honored to be a part of creating the Elverson Garden Club’s Harry Potter design, titled “Enchanting Evening Elixirs.”

Days later, the big announcement arrived: we won our first trophy, a shining silver bowl. It was presented to us by the Pennsylvania Landscaping and Nursery Association for outstanding design. We are so honored and proud to achieve such an accomplishment and we will be returning in 2014.

Recently, a celebration luncheon was held in my home with all these talented members. Together, we accomplished this honor.

Our small and rural garden club was organized in Elverson in 1928, by Chartered President Arthur T. Sigman, Vice President John C. Stroman, Secretary H. Stanley Witwer and Treasurer Clyde Kurtz. I had the good fortune to have known most of these gentlemen, and they loved gardening.

Through the years, our club won many ribbons, but never a trophy. What an accomplishment for our rural area.

Our garden club meets the first Thursday of every month, except January and February, at the Village Library of Morgantown, in the social room at 7 p.m. with guest speakers. We extend a warm invitation to all that are interested in gardening and learning.

Remember: A garden is a perfect place to learn about patience, hope, the renewal of life and responsibility. Gardens cultivate love and friendship as each choice plant blooms.

Happy gardening!