Local district hosts state-wide garden club meeting in Auburn this week

By: Gloria Young,
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Golden Foothills District
Director: Josie Goodenow
Auburn Arrangers Guild
Auburn Garden Club
Chicago Park Garden Club
Colfax Garden Club
Divide Garden Club
Donner Garden Club of Auburn
Lake of the Sky Garden Club
Lincoln Dirt Gardeners
Meadow Vista Garden Club
Organic Gardening Club of Sacramento County
Roseville Better Gardens Club
Roseville Green Thumb Garden Club 

It’s still mid-winter, but digging in the dirt was on the minds of hundreds of enthusiasts attending the California Garden Clubs, Inc. winter board meeting at the Holiday Inn in Auburn this week.
Hosted by the Golden Foothills District, the activity-packed gathering includes special speakers, workshops, luncheons, dinners, a raffle, used book sale and of course, business meetings. It is one of three state-wide meetings held each year, providing the opportunity for representatives of the 26 districts to discuss scholarships, awards judging, bylaws and budget and financial matters, according to Registrar Robin Pokorski, attending from San Fernando.
“It’s the meat and potatoes of the organization, where we come together to do our work,” she said.
Golden Foothills District host committee member and CGCI board co-chairwoman Myrtle Findley said planning for the meeting started about two years ago. And it takes more than 100 volunteers from hosting district clubs to put on the four days of activities.    
“We have to make early reservations at the hotel and getting good speakers takes time,” Findley said.
Tuesday’s presentations included Agriculture Gold, with speaker Phil Sexton discussing how the railroads helped California flower and bloom. Foothill Farmers Market manager Carol Arnold discussed Placer County Gold — history of fruit, citrus and stone, vegetables, wine, cattle and timber.  And Pokorski’s topic was “NGC: Growing our world – Greening our communities.
Wednesday’s dinner featured author Donna Howell, who discussed her book, “Romantic Tahoe.”
Well known local garden author Carolyn Singer, guest speaker for today’s luncheon, will talk about sustainable vegetable gardening. The evening’s entertainment is Gail Begin and the Begin family in concert.
Friday is workshop day, with topics covering the CGCI website, Solexx greenhouses and edible mushroom cultivation. There’s also a special presentation on Project Mission Blue, which works to preserve the mission blue butterfly, a native of the Bay Area that is on the endangered species list.
Co-chairwoman Joan Craig, who traveled from Reno, is in charge of the budget and special meals.
“I think we picked a wonderful hotel,” she said “I give them a lot of credit. We feel very at home here.”  
While the clubs bring together many women who love gardening, a trend Findley sees is more and more men getting involved.
One of those is Ed Dempsey, member of the Roseville Green Thumb Garden Club and webmaster for the statewide organization. Dempsey and gardener Pat Clayes are the speakers for Friday’s website presentation.
“My wife joined so I did, too,” he said.
While business and educational aspects are key, the gathering also generates a lot of camaraderie.
“It’s a chance for (the local district) to show off the best in their area,” Pokorski said. “The Golden Foothills District is putting on a party and showcasing the very best.”