The Palos Verdes Peninsula-based Silver Spur Garden Club is 50 years old this year. But don’t let the lofty number fool you. These hands-on gardeners are as vibrant, natural and hardy as any of their favorite flowers. They are very active – meeting monthly, with guest speakers enriching their gardening know-how. Because they meet at homes, where members can view each others’ horticultural handiness, they limit their membership to 40, and there is a waiting list. “We are really a diverse group of women from many different countries. We have lots of areas of expertise, and we all share our knowledge. We’re like a close family,” said former president Jackie Johnson. A member for 35 years, Johnson has the longest tenure with the club. She and her husband specialize in growing bromeliads and orchids, but she has become proficient with dozens of plant species over the years. In fact, Johnson’s floral artistic design skills, honed in garden club meetings, won her the top prize out of 125 international entries in the Bromeliad World Conference’s artistic design competition in Los Angles. She also took home first-place honors in competitions in San Francisco, San Diego and Chicago. Typically, members of the Silver Spur Garden Club are not only great gardeners and hostesses with lovely homes and gardens, but they are gourmet cooks as well. Not surprisingly, guests often find edible flowers adorning luncheon plates or incorporated into salads, tea sandwiches or pastries. And, of course, the centerpieces are to die for. Among members’ gardens are exquisite Italian, Mediterranean, English cottage, coastal, container and succulent gardens, in addition to eclectic mixes. Member Julia Jones has about 150 topiaries in her garden. Club members also are diverse in age – from their 30s and 40s up to age 89.Lilian Bulat is the club’s sprightly senior member – she will turn 90 in January. Each club meeting includes artistic and horticultural sessions in which members bring new or different plants to display, or cuttings or plant divisions to share. The November meeting at the Mediterranean-style home of Jiovanna Ciccone featured a floral design demonstration by Redondo Beach bridal floral designer Lavorka Curic, owner of Flowers by Laurel. Assisted by Charlene Machen, Curic elicited oohs and aahs for her original holiday arrangements. “Brides ask me all the time to create something so special that no one has ever seen anything like it before. That’s what we go for,” said Curic, as she executed a two-tier arrangement with floating candles, orchids, burgundy roses and wine-colored gerbera daisies on a base of floating cranberries. Along with meetings, members also hold an annual spring tour of four gardens and a lovely outdoor luncheon and silent auction. Last year, they donated nearly $6,500 to nonprofits such as the South Coast Botanic Garden, Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy, Southern California Regional Occupational Center, South Bay Wildlife Rehab, Pennies for Pines and South Bay schools with gardening programs. The club also selects attractive home and commercial landscaping as recipients for Garden of the Season award – given to individuals or companies who significantly beautify their part of the world. “We just knock on doors and offer our award,” says Johnson. “People love it and over the years, a lot of these award recipients wound up joining our group.” The club also sponsors two bus tours each year to Los Angeles or Orange County botanical gardens, nurseries or other places of interest and at least once a year the club holds a couples party, usually in a private home. On Nov. 3, the group celebrated its 50th Golden Jubilee anniversary with a dinner at the Los Angeles Yacht Club in San Pedro, where members and their spouses celebrated and reminisced. Ask any member and you will hear sentiments similar to Johnson’s: “This group has enriched my life with wonderful friends and added greatly to my knowledge of plants and artistic design.” [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!