Tag Archives: Greens Farms Garden Club

Greens Farms Garden Club Grows For Good

“Garden Club” sounds so genteel. Members sit discussing flowers, creating beautiful arrangements, drinking tea and munching little sandwiches.

Dude! It’s 2021. Today’s garden club is not your great-grandmother’s.

Take the Greens Farms Garden Club. It’s been around since 1930 (read its history here). Now — 9 years before its 100th anniversary — members have taken their community service mission to a new level.

They’ve joined the fight against food insecurity.

Last February — amid the pandemic, and so much other misery — conservation chair Mary Lou McGuire had an idea. The Greens Farms Garden Club could grown and donate the bounty of their efforts to people in need.

Members quickly embraced the “Growing for Good” idea. Chairs Maybette Waldron, Gael Ficken and Jacque O’Brien worked with McGuire to develop a cost-efficient plan.

They found garden space at Wakeman Town Farm, and St. Timothy’s Church in Fairfield. Head farmers were selected. More than 20 members offered to help, all summer long.

Members researched best practices for growing vegetables organically. Schedules were formed, journals kept. It was decided to plant a small number of crops, to bring larger quantities of fresh produce to the 2 recipients selected: Mercy Learning Center and St. John’s Family Center. Both are in Bridgeport.

There were questions along the way: Why didn’t the cabbage grow successfully? Why did the cherry tomatoes turn out better than the larger ones? When to replant for a late summer/fall crop?

Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center, and Ganim’s Garden Center in Fairfield, provided help and assistance.

Greens Farms Garden Club members at work in April.

After farming all summer, the harvesters went to work. Recipients are thrilled with their gifts.

“This has been a wonderful initiative, which we’ll continue,” says O’Brien.

“There are many benefits to each member, and to the Greens Farms Garden Club. Working together created great team spirit, and a wonderful sense of accomplishment.

“Learning about growing vegetables expanded our horticultural knowledge, and provided us with greater incentive to grow vegetables at home. There is nothing like the taste of an absolutely fresh vegetable.”

Jane MacDonald and Judy Reynolds package produce in bags donated by Stop & Shop, for delivery to Mercy Learning and St. John’s Family Centers.

How The Earthplace Garden Grows

Like the perennial plants that bloom, then disappear there, the native garden in the Earthplace atrium has cycled through periods of growth and dormancy.

Designed in 1960 by Eloise Ray — a noted landscape architect — at what was then called the Mid-Fairfield County Youth Museum, the handsome garden was filled with indigenous species.

Eloise Ray, in the natural garden she conceived and designed.

Eloise Ray, in the native garden she conceived and designed.

Over the years — as the name changed to the Nature Center — the garden became a favorite spot. A bronze statue and bench added to its serenity.

In 1977, the Greens Farms Garden Club took over maintenance. They continued until 2011, when the board of trustees changed the courtyard focus. For a few years, the garden fell into disuse.

But in the fall of 2015, the garden club revived it. They weeded vigorously. Working from Ray’s original blueprints, they planted 17 new shrubs, and 42 native plants. Last year, they added 12 more perennials.

Greens Farms Garden Club members (from left) Ann Watkins, Barbara Harman, Wynn Herrmann, Rivers Teske and Donnie Nader take a rare break from their Earthplace work.

Greens Farms Garden Club members (from left) Ann Watkins, Barbara Harman, Wynn Herrmann, Rivers Teske and Donnie Nader take a rare break at Earthplace.

Today the garden is once again a delight. It supports local wildlife like grey tree frogs. Honeybees pollinate the flora. Birds and butterflies abound.

Staff and visitors love it. And, says Greens Farms Garden Club past president Wynn Hermann, members and Earthplace employees enjoy a “wonderful partnership.”

Earthplace's atrium garden blooms again.

Earthplace’s atrium garden blooms again.

On Saturday, March 11, guests will gather there for a Garden Party Gala. There’s great food and music, plus an auction. It’s a fundraiser for Earthplace’s education programs.

The theme of the evening is “Help Our Garden Grow.”

Which makes perfect sense. Whether it’s flowers or the environmental awareness of children, Earthplace plants seeds, nurtures and grows.

(The Garden Party Gala is set for 7-11 p.m. on Saturday, March 11. For information and tickets, click here.)