Garden Club Jumps into Spring

By Jutta Zeisler, President, Dunbar Garden Club

After a year made challenging by record high and low temperatures, high winds and devastating floods, Dunbar gardeners are going full steam ahead into the new growing season. With high vaccination rates and venues opening up in late fall, we had anticipated being able to hold in-person meetings again, and in November polled our members about their comfort level at making this happen.

While Zoom meetings allow us to recruit interesting speakers from out of town, the social aspects cannot be recreated on a screen. Chatting with friends over a cup of tea and admiring the plants brought in for the “show bench” often inspires new projects for our own gardens and that “I need this for my garden” feeling.

Our membership has grown a lot in these past two years, a reflection of the growing interest in gardening as a chance to connect with our environment, and the ease with which exciting presentations have been available from the comfort of one’s home. This has raised questions around occupancy limits and enforcing public health guidelines for in-person meetings. We planned for every possible scenario, fully online, in-person, or hybrid for those not yet comfortable with larger groups, but the arrival of the latest Coronavirus variant put another stop to meeting face-to-face.

Our fantastic executive team still lined up amazing speakers on Zoom for the spring. Members are again preparing for our annual Plant Sale in April, to be held online, sharing the bounty of their gardens to raise funds for educational programs and speaker fees. In line with that, our first speaker of the year was Maria Valana, who talked on Jan. 25 about the many ways to divide and propagate plants to increase density and variety in our gardens. Of course, we hope there will also be lots of plants contributed to our Plant Sale!

Amidst the many limitations posed on us by the pandemic, we have found that gardening is a pastime that continues very much unchanged. We can still enjoy our gardens as we did before and experience the feeling of beauty and calm of creating our own restful “vacation spot” next to our home or harvesting produce in our community garden plots.

Even the St. Philip’s Orion Ranger Girl Guides held a meeting focusing on “Gardening and Sustainability.” Gardening is a bandwagon everyone can be excited to jump on!

After Valana’s presentation in January, the Spring 2022 schedule included Dr. Richard Hebda speaking on “Snowdrops” on Feb. 22nd, and Amy Sanderson speaking on “Cut Flowers from the Garden” on March 22nd. The upcoming April 26th meeting will feature Johanna Moretto and Karen Pyne speaking about Nutrifore Soil, an exciting new product that utilizes solid waste and wood bi-products to create a beautiful organic composte without weed seeds.

For more information, or to attend a meeting as a drop-in, contact midgeoke at gmail dot com.