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Great Bend Garden Club looks at the legacy of Johnny Appleseed
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Great Bend Garden Club member Darlene Boley, left, visits with Fern Thompkins, hostess for the February meeting. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

At their Feb. meeting, 17 members of Great Bend Garden Club learned of the far reaching legacy of the legendary Johnny Appleseed during a program given by Alice Young.
Born in Massachusetts in 1774, a young man named John Chapman became known as Johnny Appleseed as he wandered through the early American frontier with his bag of apple seeds, his dog, and his tin pan hat planting the seeds he first collected from cider presses in the colonies. His was a life-long journey of planting apple seeds on unclaimed land, finding nearby farmers to tend the resulting apple groves and encouraging others to transplant the small seedlings onto their own property. Even today in the states of Ohio and Indiana where he ultimately settled, you can find historical markers identifying a piece of property as a “Johnny Appleseed Farm” where there are still groves from his plantings of the original small wild apples he brought from New England.
The planting of apple trees eventually spread all over the United States and they have been grafted into over 7,000 different varieties around the world.  Alice shared more detailed information about the 10 different varieties of apples that are most commonly found in our local grocery stores. In addition to the culinary legacy of Johnny Appleseed’s trees, there is also the beauty that the blossoms of the fruited apple trees and the related ornamental crabapple trees bring to the landscaping of our homes.
Alice shared information about the four varieties of crabapple trees that are recommended for our area: Prairie Fire, (purple new foliage, pink blossoms); Katherine (white blossoms); Purple Wave (lavender-pink blossoms, purple-red fruit); and Radiant Flowering (pink blossoms, red foliage, fast growing). All of these crabapples have small colorful fruit which attracts birds during the fall and winter. There are also crabapple varieties that bear no fruit.
During the business meeting conducted by president Nancy Swafford, correspondence concerning the Great Bend High School’s Student Volunteer Day was received from Andrea Maxwell. It was decided to again ask for students to help with a Cemetery Rose Garden spring clean-up. The Volunteer Day will be on April 23rd.  
Plans were formulated to apply for a Golden Belt Foundation Grant to help with the replacement, repair, and upgrading of the Memorial Plaques in the Great Bend Cemetery Rose Garden. The original plaques were purchased in the 1950s.
Hostesses for the meeting were Fern Thompkins and Teresa Bachand.  
The next meeting will be on March 20 with Becky Dudrey giving the program and Eileen Ingersoll as hostess.