Lifestyle

Garden Club cultivates friendships, community

Bainbridge Island Garden Club members Peggy Adkins, Sharon Kulfan and Mildred Eremic pull weeds from the roundabout on Madison Avenue and High School Road.  - Brad Camp/For the Review
Bainbridge Island Garden Club members Peggy Adkins, Sharon Kulfan and Mildred Eremic pull weeds from the roundabout on Madison Avenue and High School Road.
— image credit: Brad Camp/For the Review

You may be wondering “What in the heck happened to summer?” Except for a few really hot days, most of summer’s temperatures were far below average, according to the National Weather Service. You can’t even throw rotten tomatoes at such a poor performance. They’re barely ripe.

If you’re disappointed in this year’s summer, join the club – the Bainbridge Island Garden Club, that is. You’ll find plenty of islanders to commiserate with about the dismal weather, but you’ll also find a dedicated group of fun-loving folks who simply enjoy gardening no matter what the weather.

“We enjoy it,” co-president Dennis Crossland said on the phone Monday.

“It gives back far more than you can ever give it, in terms of friendships,” he said.

Peggy Adkins and Sharon Kulfan both joined on the same day five years ago. Since then, they’ve worked side-by-side weeding, planting, digging in the roundabout garden in the middle of Madison Avenue and High School Road.

On the second Monday of every month September through June, the 47-member BIGC gathers at the First Baptist Church at the corner of State Route 305 and Madison Avenue, to socialize and meet other gardeners, learn about horticulture, watch demonstrations and cross-pollinate ideas.

The group began Oct. 26, 1936, meeting at the Rolling Bay schoolhouse. Plans are in the works to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the group next year with a flower show on the island.

In the meantime, there’s plenty else to do.

The group maintains the roundabout, sprucing up between seasonal changes. An annual plant sale in spring raises money for a scholarship for a Bainbridge High School senior to pursue further studies in environmental sciences. Volunteers deliver floral arrangements, – and cookies, too – to residents of Messenger House and senior homes. Each month, a different person maintains the plants inside the Bainbridge Public Library, and some members are part of the Friday Tidy Club, which tends the gardens surrounding the Library.

Monthly meetings follow a multi-layered format. From 9:30-10 a.m. members visit and swap gardening stories and nosh on refreshments. From 10-11 a.m., they tackle a quick business meeting followed by garden tips from long-time gardener Vi (short for, what else, Viola) Schafer.

“It’s time to plant greens – winter spinach, swiss chard,” she said. “And daffies.”

Master Gardener Marilyn Mathis offers her knowledge to members.

A horticultural arrangement brought by someone in the group is critiqued by master judges and gardening consultants.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., speakers present on a variety of gardening topics and the group often plans field trips or participates in hands-on workshops such as making bird houses or decorating pots.

And while summer 2010 may be winding down, optimists can start planting bulbs for next spring.

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Cultivate friendships

The Bainbridge Island Gardening Club meets from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. the second Monday September through June at the First Baptist Church at the corner of State Route 305 and Madison Avenue.

For more information, call Dennis Crossland at 780-6819.

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