The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 5, 2013

Jo Ellis: Late winter can’t dampen passion for gardening

By Jo Ellis
Globe Columnist

CARTHAGE, Mo. — What a setback to gardening these past few days have been. And the ground is still too wet to do much planting.

The crazy weather, however, didn’t deter die-hard wannabe gardeners from showing up at the Master Gardener plant sale at Powers Museum on Saturday. Who could imagine coats, hats and gloves at a May 4 plant sale?

I tried to temper my purchases because I have a couple more plant sales on my upcoming agenda.

But I was so happy to pick up a couple of thornless blackberry plants and an iris variety called Clarence. We were there with friends Clarence and Lynn Hall, so it was an obvious choice. He bought one also, and we’re going to have a contest as to whose will bloom first. May the best gardener win!

Afterward, we stopped at Ed Hardesty’s new coffee shop, The Mother Road, on the west side of the square for cups of hot java, sweet blueberry muffins and good conversation. In addition to premium roast coffees, this comfortable shop features the original blue-and-white mosaic tile floors of the old Murray-Duncan drugstore of years gone by.

Our gardening lust still not satisfied, we ventured over to the Webb City Farmers Market, where we found some beautiful geraniums, gerbera daisies and lots of fresh green veggies.

If the weather impedes your spring planting schedule, there is still plenty to keep Carthage residents occupied this week, starting with the performance of “Plaza Suite” at Stone’s Throw Dinner Theatre. The three-in-one play by Neil Simon takes a look at human foibles as they transpire over different nights in the same suite of the Plaza Hotel.

Betsy Fleischaker directs a 10-member cast of Tyler Cole, Jalil Hamilton, Raven Micale, Tom Brown, Hannah Marsh, David Kloppenborg, Melanie Kloppenborg, Shanti Navarre, Dee Hubbard and Carol Cunningham. Marsh will play two roles.

Performances will run May 10-12 and May 17-19. I’m excited to have reservations on my birthday, and, yes, I’m expecting chef LeAnn Cole, my old friend (that’s a reference to the number of years we’ve known each other) to have a special birthday cake for me. (Or maybe just a candle in a cupcake or a bowl of Jell-O.)

Details: 417-358-9665.

Another event this week is the Carthage Business Expo slated for Thursday and Friday at the Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix Seminary, 1900 Grand Ave. Retail and commercial vendors will display their products and services from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday during a Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours sponsored by John Hoffer Dodge-Chrysler Jeep. The expo will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday.

Admission is $2. Free samples will be offered by Broadview Country Club, Domino’s Pizza and the Sassy Spoon. Drawings for prizes will be made hourly, and two lucky people will win an iPad from Neo Tech Solutions or a makeover from Dr. Fly’s Salon.

So, if planting is out of the question this week, just make sure those seedlings and transplants have plenty of water and sun until you can put them in the ground, and compensate with other activities.

Address correspondence to Jo Ellis, c/o The Joplin Globe, Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802 or email