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Words from our SDFCG State President

The Holidays always bring a whirlwind of activity with many stresses!  I encourage you to relax and enjoy them with family because that is what they should be all about.  One way to do that is to garden or play with plants and flowers.  Every time you touch a flower, you relax according to J. Swanke and many other flower experts, so be sure to touch a flower this holiday season and after! 


My personal gardening adventures that I am already planning for this next year include starting sweet potato vines in January.  I started them last year from a sweet potato from the grocery store and they produced well so I will do it again.  I bought the “slips” from the garden center before and they did ok also but I am a “frugal” gardener so thought I would try my own!  I planted them in urn pots in the sun.  It worked well, because the rabbits could not eat them totally, although they did “trim” the edges hanging over at times.  All I did is cut the sweet potato in half and put the cut end in a glass of water (about ½ inch in water) using toothpicks pushed into the potato to keep it from falling into the glass of water.  It took a while but finally, shoots from the eyes of the sweet potato began to grow.  I got 8-10 shoots from one sweet potato which was plenty for me.  When it was no longer freezing outside, I cut off the shoots with a little sweet potato still on them and planted them into my urn pots.  They all grew and I had several meals of sweet potatoes again this fall!  Such a treat!  The advantage is that sweet potato vines are pretty as well and can join your other potted decorative plants.


The news from NGC has been the planning for the NGC Convention in Denver, June 2-5, 2024.  It will be at the Westin Westminster which is a Marriot.  I have made reservations as they opened early for state presidents/board members.  They open for everyone in the new year so check early in the year so you get into the official hotel.  Denver is relatively close so I encourage you to consider a drive to Denver and the convention!  They have several tours and events planned such as a tour of the Butterfly Pavilion, Denver Botanical Gardens, Lavender Workshop, Floral Design Basics Seminar, Time for Tea Workshop, etc. 



For those of you who may not be National Garden Club (NGC) Members, I encourage you to make some contacts and become involved.  Some of our towns have garden clubs but often they are not affiliated with the National Garden Club.  I encourage you to become involved with the NGC so you learn and support all the various programs and grants they provide.  Dues is only $1.00 per year per member!  What a bargain and brings many dollars into South Dakota in the form of college scholarships, garden grants and awards plus all the various programs such as the Blue Star Markers to honor the veterans and the Gold Start Markers to honor veteran’s families (did you even know that is a project of the NGC?).  We have several markers in SD including in the Black Hills and eastern SD.  I would love to talk with anyone about joining the NGC.  It is worth it!


Mary Lerssen, SDFGC President

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