Get Out And Grow: Area Gardeners Think Spring

April is National Garden Month and is a busy time for local gardeners who are beginning to plant flowers and vegetables. The peak of plant sales in Warsaw takes place in April and lasts until Mother’s Day with an increase in sales again on July 4th. Kelley Greenwell, in her sixth year as manager of the seasonal area at Orscheln, says that plants and other garden items are on sale. The store is carrying annuals, tropicals, hanging baskets, shrubs, herbs, and vegetables, plus flower and vegetable feeds, potting mixes, mulches, and garden soil.
“We are pretty full of plants,” said Greenwell. “A lot of our vegetables are cold weather plants like broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, spinach, tomatoes and peppers. A little later we will have eggplant, cucumber, and watermelon. Everyone has spring fever now and we are selling a lot of landscape timbers, stones, vegetable and flower plants. The peak season will start winding down by the first of July. But we have another peak around Christmas.
Gardening has been around since prehistoric times for food production and pleasure. The initial gardeners in the U.S. were essentially harvesters, but home gardening started to become a leisure activity in the 1800s. reports that the U.S. is one of the top three gardening countries, and that 55 percent of people garden to create a beautiful space and 43 percent garden to grow food.
The 23 members of the Stepping Stones Garden Club in Warsaw help to provide gardens and attractive landscapes at public places, and most of them have gardens at home. Their club activities include maintaining gardens around the Boonslick Regional Library in Warsaw where they have just pulled weeds and say that Redbuds and phlox are blooming. They also maintain three gardens at Hooper House that is set up just below the Visitor Center at Truman Lake.
“The deer seem to eat most of the plants behind Hooper House,” said Sara Blacklock, Secretary and Membership Chairman of Stepping Stones Garden Club. “They love the wildflowers that we plant. We also maintain a two-mile stretch on Hwy 65 cleaning up trash for MoDOT. We used to maintain a blue star and gold star memorial at Drake Harbor, supporting the military, with help from the community.”
Blacklock said that you do not have to be a great gardener to be in the garden club. Members have a love of nature and they have fun. The club has a wide range of people, sometimes including husbands, who get together for meetings and trips. The club meets on the second Wednesday at 10 A.M., usually at the Warsaw Christian Church. But, sometimes they do things differently like visiting nurseries. Anyone interested in finding out more about the garden club may contact Blacklock at
Stepping Stones turned 69 years old this year, is a member of the Federated Garden Clubs of Missouri, and is affiliated with the National Garden Club. Patty Osborn, Treasurer of Stepping Stones Garden Club, said that as far as she knows Verna Rush and a group of ladies founded the club in the 1950s and began working with the Corps of Engineers. The club now partners with the Fish Hatchery and Master Naturalists at times. The club’s big plant sale will take place on May 20, from 8 A.M. to 12 P.M. in downtown Warsaw near the courthouse. There will be Hostas, plenty of native plants and free tree seedlings.
“Until this year we always had our plant sale in an old stone building at the end of the Mile-Long bridge, near where Verna Rush lived,” said Osborn. “The proceeds from the sales go to scholarships at Warsaw High School, and help us maintain the public landscapes.”