Vermont garden clubs

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(Host) Many Vermont communities are made brighter and more cheerful by the local garden club. Commentator Ron Krupp appreciates their efforts.

(Krupp) Recently, I had the honor of speaking at the annual meeting of Federated Garden Clubs of Vermont. The name of my talk was, Where Do All The Flowers Come From and the place was the upscale Equinox Inn in Manchester.

Looking out at the audience of well over a hundred ladies with flowered dresses and hats, I found myself thinking, “What would our world be without them. They spruce up our town greens, maintain them in summer, cut flowers for folks in nursing homes and welcome us all as we enter the villages of Vermont. Their mottos are Beautification, Preservation and Conservation. The garden clubs began in the 1920’s and 30’s and today, they are the largest, non-profit gardening organization in the world.

I was first introduced to the garden clubs by a Florence King of Glens Falls, New York. She was the mother of Robert King, a close friend and an avid gardener who lives on Putney mountain. Florence told me how she had grown up on a farm and like many woman of her time had moved closer to the urban areas. She wanted to renew her love for flowers, especially sweet pea blooms, by joining the local gardening club.

As I drive around Vermont peddling my Vermont garden book, I notice garden beds in many towns just filled with flowers, like big welcoming parties. And when I read the official Vermont Garden Club newsletter called The Leaf, I’m amazed to see how many garden projects there are throughout the Green Mountains.

For example, the town hall in Newfane had been spruced up thanks the efforts of the Newfane Garden Club. They worked on the garden beds, added a bench and fixed the walkways. The Four Seasons Garden Club in Orleans kicked off the Christmas season by making wreaths and swags for the Derby Green Nursing Home. Rutlands Garden Club worked with the Rutland Conservation District to enhance the nature trail at Diamond Run Mall. The Granite Center Garden Club landscaped a Habitat for Humanity home, planted day lilies and grasses at a local skate board park and created a butterfly garden at the Barre Town Elementary School. The Covered Bridges Garden Club planted and maintained fifty barrels of flowers in Montgomery Village and Montgomery Center as well as a perennial flower bed at the town library.

Everyone who came to the annual federated garden club meeting in Manchester was asked to wear a flowered hat. It seemed a perfect way to celebrate the season to me especially when I read the following words in the garden newsletter. “Flowers are the poetry of the earth, as stars are the poetry of heaven.”

This is Ron Krupp, the northern gardener.

Ron Krupp is a gardener and author who lives near Lake Champlain on Shelburne Bay.

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