Horticultural Chair Sallie McNeill Rynd’s bouquet, fresh from her garden that morning: an educational tool. (Photos from Dagmar Fors Karppi)

Locust Valley Garden Club Enjoys International Food In Costume

By Dagmar Fors Karppi

The Locust Valley Garden Club (LVGC) enjoyed an International Luncheon at their May meeting at the Locust Valley Library. Irene Duque, in charge of the menu had members bring food reflecting their cultural heritage. She also suggested dressing in costumes, which several members did.

Irene Duque with the centerpiece: the SS America, in memory of the boat that brought her to America.

Irene explained the inspiration for the buffet centerpiece, which was a boat that Irene built from a large piece of cardboard. “We came to America, from Poland, via Brazil on the Steam Ship Argentina, sister ship to the SS Brazil, in 1956. That’s why I named the boat the SS America.”

The international food was exceptional and wearing costumes added to the fun for everyone.

A special feature of the meeting was the presentation of the club’s annual scholarships for two students of Farmingdale State College’s horticulture program, who plan to work in horticulture.

Adonias Mercado was awarded the Kathy Pufahl Scholarship created by her mother Flo Pufahl, a LVGC past president. Kathy was known as an expert in container gardening. Adonias is focusing on landscape design. Marlaiana Molinari,was awarded the Madeline M. Sorrenti Scholarship. Madeline was a LVGC vice president and publicity chair. She was known for her lush garden in Lattingtown Ponds. Marlaiana expressed her gratitude for the scholarship.

The topic of the program was on growing houseplants successfully.

Having a great time are Ronnie Feeg, Nancy Capobianco, Jonathan Grimm, Lucy DeVito, Irene Duque, Sallie McNeill Rynd, Allyn Adams, Dagmar Karppi and Helene Henken.

Hilton Carter, author of Living Wild: Plant-spiration has an interesting way of describing what houseplants to buy. He asks the buyers themselves to decide if you are a “cat person” or a “dog person”. The cat lover likes an independent animal who takes care of itself and tells you what it needs. The dog lover has a pet that needs a great deal of regular attention, including being walked twice a day.
That gives you the best hint on the kind of plant that will thrive with you. A cat lover will prefer plants that need little care. The dog lover is willing to take on the full responsibility of caring for a plant.

In presenting her talk on Growing Houseplants Successfully, Beth Ricciardi, a Master Gardener and a volunteer lecturer with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County said, “Always get the name of the plant you are buying, including instructions for its care.”


Trinidad born Kassie Roth dressed in her heritage Indian dress with Mely Persad in a traditional Philippino dress.

Learning the individual needs of your plants as to light, soil, humidity and the timing of adding fertilizer, are crucial to success.

Ricciardi made that clear as she talked of re-potting, propagation, pests, and lighting. “Plants need darkness to grow. Light for 24 hours a day will kill a plant.” Who knew?

Rounding out the day, member Jane Benstock shared her gardening memories. Terri Swenson will be talking about her gardening experiences at the meeting on May 15, where we will be learning about viniculture in a presentation by Ron Metzger. That includes hearing about the women in his family who have been members of the club since 1947.

The LVGC meets the third Wednesday of the month in the Locust Valley Library Community Room. Come to learn about gardening, and stay and make new friends. The donation for the program and buffet lunch is $15. For information contact the LVGC President Dean Yoder at [email protected].

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