Meet the Gardener: She plays leadership role in Roseville clubs

By: Gloria Young, Home & Garden
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Sue Bennett’s love of gardening didn’t take root until she and her husband moved to Roseville from the Bay Area, after her retirement from Hewlett-Packard. She decided the best way to cultivate her new hobby was to get involved with groups that specialize in all things green. “I knew nothing about gardening when I first started,” she said recently. “So, I’ve learned a lot.” That was in 2001. Seven years later, she’s embraced her new calling with vigor. As assistant director of the Golden Foothills District of California Garden Clubs, she’s chairing the 2nd Annual Garden Extravaganza being held May 3 in Auburn. As three-year president of the Roseville Better Gardens Club, she’s working on the 10th annual Roseville Rose Show to be held a week later, on May 10. Then there are tasks associated with the Roseville Area Newcomers and Neighbors group — she’s vice president of that. And there are meetings and activities as a member of the Sierra Foothills Rose Society. That’s all in her spare time. She also owns her own company. Called SOS — Sue’s Organizational Services — she helps clients organize everything from events to garages and closets. “I’m a very organized person,” she said. For the Garden Extravaganza, Bennett has been lining up vendors. Carolyn Singer, author of “Deer in My Garden,” is among those who have signed on for a booth, as has Blue Star landscape designers. Colfax resident Myrtle Findley, a longtime member of the Golden Foothills District, came up with the idea for “the extravaganza.” “We wanted an educational event,” she said. “I had been working more than 10 years just for garden club members and I thought ‘wouldn’t it be great for the public, too.’” Findley put together the program speakers. “I wanted horticulture and designs because (members are) dirt gardeners as well as floral arrangers,” she said. The most popular segment features three designers together. “They have the same kind of container and same kind of components and we’ll see what they do,” she explained. Bennett is working with two other clubs — Roseville Green Thumb and Roseville Arrangers Guild — on the rose show. At the same time, she’s keeping an eye on her roses for some star performers. Last year she won Best of Show for a “Mr. Lincoln” bloom. “He’s a beautiful, red, scented rose,” she said. Roses are Bennett’s specialty in her home garden and she also tills a lot of container plantings. “I have more than 80 roses,” she said. “I enjoy that they rebloom. Even though they are a lot of work, you get a lot out of them.” Iris and lavender are two other favorites. “I like lavender because I like the scent,” she said. “I cut it and bring it into the house.” The delicate look of bearded iris also appeals to her. She grows freesia, too, because of the variety of colors. “I’m an odd gardener,” she said. “I like bulbs and seeds. And I learn a lot by reading.” Her advice for would-be gardeners? “Determine if it is for shade or sun, and grow what you like,” she said. “If you can’t grow what you like, find something else.”