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Garden Club Growing Since 1931

Garden Club Growing Since 1931

(Crystal A. Proxmire, 10/15/2011)

Some members of the Ferndale Garden Club stared up at the giant projection screen  in awe while others furiously jotted down notes as Kim Norman of Eckert’s Greenhouse in Sterling Heights showed off pictures of the newly-released 2012 perennials and other plants.

Having the newest varieties of flowers, ornamental grasses, and other vegetation is a source of pride among members of the thriving group.  The group has been active since 1931 and there are now over 30 members.  Members do not need to be experts, though many have gardens of breathtaking beauty, and some are even certified Master Gardeners.  Their objective is “to stimulate the knowledge and love of gardening, to aim in the protection of native birds and to encourage civic betterment.”  Meetings are monthly at the Kulick Community Center (1201 Livernois) on the second Thursday of the month from September through May.

At each meeting there are announcements and reports from committee leaders.  At their Oct. 13, 2011 meeting Dick Gadoua spoke about the vast numbers of animal species there are on the planet as part of his bird report, including the 9,998 known species of birds.

Member John Sterritt shared a recent experience with the group.  He and wife Jean had visited the Schedel Arboretum and Gardens in Elmore, Ohio.  “It’s about an hour and a half, so it’s worth the trip,” Sterritt said.  “Jean cleaned out the brochure rack so we could bring these back for you.” The land belonged to a wealthy couple who developed it in their dream home and garden, complete with personal lakes, picturesque bridges, statues and even a bonsai collection. Since their passing, the land is now a garden where people can enjoy nature or host events.

Such stories are shared among members as they enjoy cake and snacks, host a raffle, and plan projects like caring for the community garden and giving out scholarships to young people who want to study biology, agriculture or horticulture.

After the time to share announcements, The Ferndale Garden Club listens to a speaker as part of their desire to keep expanding and sharing their knowledge.  Norman’s presentation on new flowers had everyone excited and talking.

“This year the new varieties tend to be more fragrant,” Norman said. “Growers realize that people want that nice flower smell in their gardens.”  The Princess of Alexandra of Kent is one rose particularly noted for its smell.  “It smells like tea with a hint of lemon,” she said. Another noticeable scent, combined with a unique appearance, comes from that of the Ketchup & Mustard Rose.  This rose is red on the top and golden on the underside with a mild traditional aroma.

Ketchup & Mustard Rose, Photo: Weeks Roses

Dianthus varieties are being bred for fragrance as well.  Three new Dianthus plants impressed members of the group: Fire and Ice, Candy Floss and Very Cherry.

Norman also talked about a newer annual that is gaining popularity.  The “Sunpatiens” are a sun tolerant version of impatiens that comes in many varieties including Blush Pink, Lilac and Orange.  “These need a lot of water,” Norman warned.  She also said they still can’t handle full sun, but might be a good option for those who have wanted impatiens but couldn’t quite get them to take because there wasn’t enough shade.

Those who want to learn more about the new 2012 releases can stop by Eckert’s Greenhouse at 34051 Ryan Road in Sterling Heights, or call 586-979-2409 for more information.

Next month The Ferndale Garden Club will have their annual blind auction, and in December it will be “Beyond the Plants in your Garden.”

The Ferndale Garden Club can be found online here (complete with music), or can contact President Carol Olson at for more information.  Membership is $20 a year, which includes membership at a local and state level.

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