“I was at a Friends of the Library meeting,” says Laurel DeTar, “and they asked for a volunteer to decorate the lobby. I’d just taken a flower arranging class at Lucy’s Informal Flowers and thought I’d like to try out my new skills.”
March 8 – Feast 0f Words, 6-9 p.m. at main branch: fundraiser
sponsored by Library
Foundation; hors d’oeuvre, beer and wine, live and silent auction, music.
Tickets are $25.
March 16 — Hood River County Reads 2014 kicks off, 2 p.m. at Hood River branch. Anyone may participate: focus book, William Stafford’s “Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems.”
It was 2006 and Laurel and her husband, Bob, had recently moved to Hood River from Boise right after he retired from the Bureau of Land Management.
“As I always do, I got a library card right away. Not too long after that I saw a notice about the next Friends’ meeting and decided to join. Then I volunteered to do flowers for the lobby. I fell in love with the job.”
Really in love with it, apparently, since she never missed a week for six years once she got started. Fresh flowers, carefully arranged, almost every week with extra special decorations on holidays such as Christmas and Valentine’s.
“About the only time I didn’t use fresh flowers was when I planned on leaving the display more than a week. Gourds and other such items for fall, for instance, or silk flowers in the winter. I got very good at the silk flowers. Once a Master Gardener actually tried to smell them and I was so proud of myself.”
Along with her years of flower arranging for the library lobby and other events such as the first Feast of Words, Laurel has become an OSU Master Gardener volunteer herself.
“I just enjoyed working with the flowers, picking and arranging them, so much. And it was a wonderful excuse to see other people’s gardens. Then I had to have a garden of my own to provide flowers for my arrangement. And became a peony addict.”
In 2013, the Master Gardeners invited Laurel and Bob to have their garden on the Master Gardeners’ garden tour. “We had our house freshly painted for that,” she says with a smile, “and we weren’t the only ones.”
All good things must come to an end, however, and Laurel’s days of decorating the library lobby are recently over.
“This year’s Christmas wreath was my last hurrah. I’m tired. It’s been a big job — not only arranging and displaying the fresh flowers but then checking back two or three times a week to make sure they were watered and still fresh. Six years is long time to do that.”
So what will she be doing now? Flowers, of course.
“I’m still doing a lot of Master Gardener work,” she says, “both co-leading the Learning Garden and doing the required continuing education. And it’s fun to check back and see what new ideas the committee has come up with for the lobby.”
The committee? Yes, the Friends of the Library now have a committee to do the job that Laurel did by herself all those years. Enough said.
“It’s time for others to have the opportunity,” she concludes, “but it has been a joy to represent this place. I wanted it to be good. Part of my OCD, I guess.”