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Carroll County garden clubs decorate trees at State House with Yumi Hogan, Maryland's first lady

Members of Carroll County garden clubs meet with Maryland first lady Yumi Hogan on Nov. 26. From left, Jackie Kegel, Mary Boldt, Cathy Hoover, Hogan, Tina Swanson, Diane Brown and Jane Purdie.
Members of Carroll County garden clubs meet with Maryland first lady Yumi Hogan on Nov. 26. From left, Jackie Kegel, Mary Boldt, Cathy Hoover, Hogan, Tina Swanson, Diane Brown and Jane Purdie. (Courtesy photo)

On Monday, Nov. 26, for the fourth year running, representatives from the Mount Airy, Carroll and Silver Fancy garden clubs joined Maryland first lady Yumi Hogan in the State House rotunda for a celebration of Maryland-themed holiday trees and wreathes.

“Lady Hogan, this is her holiday project each year. There are 24 trees exhibited, 23 from each of the counties and one tree from Baltimore city,” said Tina Swanson, Mount Airy Garden Club president. “They are supposed to be 6-foot trees — they are artificial trees. No lights, just decorations that somehow honor your county.”

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In the past few years, the three garden clubs had created ornaments celebrating Carroll County history, its fire companies and fire houses.

“This year we are doing the Carroll County Barn Quilt Trail. We made all the ornaments,” Swanson said, with quilted squares featuring the patterns on barns around the county. “There are 31 quilt designs on all the ornaments.”

Diane Brown of the Carroll Garden Club places an ornament on a tree in the State House Nov. 26.
Diane Brown of the Carroll Garden Club places an ornament on a tree in the State House Nov. 26. (Courtesy photo / Tina Swanson / Mount Airy Garden Club)

And while decorating artificial trees is not gardening per se, it has been a hit with garden club members since it began, according to Carroll Garden Club Treasurer Diane Brown, who noted the club members enjoy meeting with the first lady.

“It’s Yumi’s idea, she’s an artist. I don’t know if she is a gardener, but she certainly enjoys talking with gardeners. She is such a gracious lady,” Brown said. “Thankfully her husband is in for four more years.”

“It’s something we really look forward to,” Swanson added. “When we go to Annapolis, we get to meet club members from all over the state.”

The event has also been a hit with the Silver Fancy Garden Club, with membership in Taneytown and Emmitsburg, according to member Jackie Kegel.

“It’s really nice! A lot of talented people,” Kegel said. “We get a certificate from the governor and the individuals who help do it get an ornament designed by his wife.”

Barn quilt ornaments made by garden clubs in Carroll County.
Barn quilt ornaments made by garden clubs in Carroll County. (Courtesy photo / Tina Swanson / Mount Airy Garden Club)

The only problem, Brown noted, is demand has outstripped supply.

“Everybody wants to do it and everybody wants to go down [but] there’s only six people who go and we have about half-a-dozen clubs in the county,” she said.

But for those that would like to be involved in future tree decorations, the garden clubs’ regular meetings or just find out more information, the garden club presidents are a phone call away.

Silver Fancy Garden Club President Betty Cree may be reached at 410-346-7663, Carroll Garden Club President Brenda Powell at 301-447-6335 and Tina Swanson, of the Mount Airy Garden Club, can be reached by email at tina406@yahoo.com.

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