VALDOSTA -- Pearlie McLeod celebrated her 69th birthday Saturday with a visit to the Garden Center's flower show at The Crescent.

"These flowers are so beautiful," she said, looking at the colorful arrangements that adorned the interior of the Patterson Street historical site.

A former "flower grower" herself, McLeod said it takes a lot of hard work, patience and knowledge to produce flowers and plants as wonderful as those on display during this year's flower show.

"When I look at these, I see all the work that went on behind the scenes to get them this way," she said. "But it's worth it. When people stop by and admire your flowers, it makes it all worthwhile."

A couple from the Atlanta area visited the show Saturday as well before leaving the Azalea City and heading back home.

"Everything's just lovely," said Sylvia Daughtry-Brown.

Even the arrangements that failed to receive accolades from the show's judges were a wonderful sight to behold, she said.

"They are all very good," Daughtry-Brown continued. "I imagine it was very difficult for the judges to make their decisions."

Her husband, Joseph Brown, said he enjoyed reading the judge's comments, which were written on index cards situated next to each display.

"I am amazed to find out how objective they were when making their decisions," he added.

Brown said he learned a lot about how each judge analyzed the flowers and plants during the competition phase of the show, which took place Friday.

The Garden Center, Inc., is comprised of nine local garden clubs dedicated to educating the public about the field of horticulture and promoting the beautification and conservation of the Valdosta area, said Margaret Cooper, a member since 1964.

"We are responsible for Valdosta being named the Azalea City," she said.

Cooper said she has watched the city's beauty continue to flourish over the years thanks to the center's efforts.

The Garden Center, Inc., has sponsored flower shows for the past 35-plus years. The majority of those have been in The Crescent, which the group assumed ownership of in 1952, Cooper added.

The public is invited to visit the flower show today from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

To contact reporter Jessica Pope, please call 244-3400, ext. 255.

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