Her love of growing plants and flowers began at age 12 when Sandra Lanum’s grandmother gave her an ivy plant.
“I kept it alive for several years,” said Lanum, a rural Cardington resident. “She raised five children as a widow,” said Lanum, further explaining that her grandmother fed her family from her own garden.
Lanum herself had 12 children (one is deceased). Following the birth of her fifth child, “I decided to follow my grandmother’s example and raise my own garden.”
Her competitive nature then entered and she took her produce to the county fair for judging.
“I was in awe, though with the floral arrangements made by others so I became bolder and made arrangements by learning from people who knew what they were doing.”
That’s when she began growing flowers and plants for judging at the Morrow County Fair. She also shared her baking talents by submitting pies and cakes and she won top prizes with many of them.
For fourteen years she even wrote and edited her own column for the Morrow County Sentinel titled, “Report from Outer Suburbia.”
She became active with the Wayside Garden Club where she still belongs and this club is part of the regional Apple Valley Garden Club, comprising the Ohio Association of Garden Clubs. She took five original floral arrangement to this regional meeting Oct. 27.
Lanum likes to create her own imaginative fresh flower original pictures using pressed flowers under glass in a decorative form. She often gives demonstrations. Currently she is working on fall arrangements focusing on trick or treat, gourds, etc.
When considering any new plant or flower, she said, “I just wait and see if I care for it, I love to see things grow.”
Her name is synonymous with winners at the Morrow County Fair.
During this year’s Flower Department judging she won Best of Show and Reserve Best of Show at the Tuesday show and following Friday’s show in which she had five arrangements, she won three blue ribbons and two third-place spots.
Her daughter, Lori, stated her mother has boxes of ribbons and awards — totaling 50-60 Best of Show; between 700 and 1,000 ribbons and a Floral Art Design collection.
She began competing at the Morrow County Fair 50 years ago and will continue as she plans to be there in 2022 adding to those winning ribbons.