MARYSVILLE — While the spring garden and craft show at Totem Middle School focused more on crafts than gardening, there were still vendors with advice aplenty for those with budding green thumbs.
Angie Maddux started her “Cup of Flower” miniature potted plant business about two years ago, but because she was busy at another show, it was up to her mom, Delia, to mind the booth in the school gym April 9.
“Sedums and succulents are very hearty and do well with little water,” Delia Maddux said. “It doesn’t matter if it rains or shines. You do probably want to put them indoors if it’s going to be a bit more rainy. But if we have a summer like last year’s, you can leave them outside, and they’ll do fine.”
While Delia deemed all of Angie’s homemade pots popular with customers, she noted that teacups, pitchers and anything to do with animals tend to be especially in demand.
Wilma Stacey only had sweetheart violets to sell with her handmade planters, but in another month, she expects to have hydrangeas and hostas to spare.
“They’re easy to grow,” said Stacey, who’s been selling plants and planters for 25 years. “Just about any homeowner in the Pacific Northwest would do well with these plants. They’re very showy and reasonably priced.”
Stacey takes pride in making her planters out of recycled cedar, which she prefers for its durability.
“Whatever planter you buy, make sure it’s deep enough for the root system to grow,” Stacey said. “I make mine quite deep. And always leave drainage spaces. Never put rocks or other filler in your planter. They should just need really good potting soil.”
Although it’s unlikely that many folks will become beekeepers themselves, Mike Miller of Sunshine Honey nonetheless advised them on how to find the best honey.
“Look for a local beekeeper who sells pure, raw honey,” Miller said. “People like liquid honey, and raw honey will crystallize, but if you pasteurize it or warm it up too quickly, it destroys the enzymes that give it its health and flavor.”
One of Miller’s biggest concerns is monitoring his hive for mites.
“I have to keep bugs off my bugs, which is difficult to do,” Miller said. “Everyone plans for high losses anymore.”
While Miller’s been able to hold his losses down to 30 percent per season, he’s known beekeepers who have lost as many as 80 percent of their bees.
“Even good beekeepers are having bad years,” Miller said. “If you’re really attentive, you’ll do okay, but not great.”