Reporter’s notebook: Staff sergeant’s green thumb produces prize winning flower

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer

With her new home at Cannon Air Force Base came a new yard. The urge to garden was almost immediate, said Marilisa Porter, an Air Force staff sergeant who moved to Clovis about a year and a half ago.

“I thought, well, heck, this is the first time I have a yard. I might as well have a garden,” said Porter, who works as a supply technician and lives with her husband and dog.

She planted beans, wildflowers, tomatoes. She planted sunflowers because “they’re a happy flower,” she said.

A novice gardener, Porter, 25, was amazed by one sunflower, which grew and grew and grew and grew.

“That thing was massive,” Porter said. “My husband is 6-foot-4 and it towered over him.”

In its prime, the sunflower secured Porter first place in the 2006 Curry County Fair for tallest sunflower and biggest sunflower head, according to fair results. This is the second time Porter has competed in fair contests, she said.

Her flair for gardening, she guesses, was passed down from her mother’s side of the family, who reside in Italy, a place Porter calls home. As the daughter of a military man, she hopped between Italy and Germany and settled in Alamogordo with her family as a 17-year-old. Then, she joined the military, and was sent to Cannon.

Reporter’s notebook was compiled by CNJ staff writer Marlena Hartz. Suggested items may be mailed to Managing Editor Rick White at P.O. Box 1689, Clovis 88102. The e-mail address is: rwhite@cnjonline.com