Myrna Moore has been gardening for 61 years. She walked away from the flower show with three horticulture awards and many ribbons.
Growing up in Scotland, Myrna Moore began gardening at age 6.
“Culturally there, everyone has gardens and flowers,” said Moore, who now lives in Daytona Beach Shores.
But gardening took on a new meaning for her in 2002. While Moore was a registered nurse, she acquired a latex allergy that made her become very ill. She was housebound for two years and had to leave her job.
“So, all I could do was play with my plants,” Moore said. “It just got more and more involved. And then they found a drug that let me actually come back out in public again, so I take shots and get to come out in public.”
At age 67, Moore walked away from the Halifax Country Flower Show with three horticulture awards and at least 20 ribbons, showing her success as a master gardener.
Moore said she showcased about 55 plants at this show. An outdoor garden of 500-600 plants with a brick courtyard protecting them fills the yard outside her home.
“It’s like a hoarding disease,” she said. “My son just calls it my plant mess. They call me the hoarder of plants.”
At the flower show on Wednesday, March 21, at the Oceanside Country Club, Moore earned the Catherine Beattie Medal, which values a plant’s vibrancy, prime condition and perfection of grooming; the Clarissa Willemsen Horticulture Propagation Award, showcasing a plant in prime condition with flawless grooming that’s difficult to grow; and the Rosie Jones Horticulture Award, featuring a plant of exceptional visual appeal that reflects the spirit of growing with joy and enthusiasm.
“It’s the competition; it’s not really about winning,” Moore said. “And also, being able to educate people about how much fun plants can be. You can go out and see a flower and say, ‘Ah, this is gorgeous,’ then you feel good because this flower looks so beautiful.”
Moore said she likes “weird” plants — ones you wouldn’t normally see, like Pachypodium, native of Madagascar, for which she earned the Catherine Beattie Medal.
On a different table, a blue ribbon winner of Moore’s features a variety of succulents planted intricately into a piece of wood, which Moore said is a base she challenges herself with.
“I go to different lumber yards, and sometimes I’ll find just little pieces of wood thrown around,” Moore said. “But it has to either be hard wood or an old piece of cypress or an old piece of red wood because those don’t rot.”
After finding wood that meets her standards, she sits it down in her home and leaves it there for months at a time before using it for her gardening.
She said that eventually, she’ll walk by the piece of wood and just suddenly know what she wants to make of it — a master gardener’s instinct.
Moore said educating the public about gardening is part of why she loves the pastime.
“I think children need to get more involved in gardening,” she said. “Obviously, school gardens are a big help because it teaches children where plants come from and what they should eat versus what not. And also, we teach people how not to use pesticides, not to overwater, there’s a lot involved with plants; it’s not just growing.”