Gardening Season Has ArrivedBy TIM GETER,
Spring arrived Tuesday and the Forest Garden Club is tilling up the grounds for another great gardening season.
The Forest Garden Club was established in 1962 and is a member of National Garden Clubs, Deep South Garden Clubs, and The Garden Clubs of Mississippi, and is in the Southern Pine District.
“Members participate and support activities on a local, district, state, and national level,” Garden Club President Kay Ingles said. “The Club commits to furthering the artistic development of its members to encourage their interests in gardening, to work for the conservation of our natural resources, and to engage in the beautification of our community.”
Club Vice President Sandra Jones said, “I have learned a lot about gardening from both our programs and other members. I also enjoy being a part of our service projects.”
According to the bylaws, FGC consist of nine Executive Board members and no more than 50 club members. Members are of the community who have an interest in gardening, desire to continue the beautification of the community and bring attention to the importance of conserving natural resources.
“Membership in the Forest Garden Club not only offers me the opportunity to further my knowledge in gardening, but also the chance to meet new friends which was helpful to me as a new resident of Forest,” club member Carol Thompson said.
“FGC meets on the 3rd Tuesday on the months of September-May (except December).
Our current theme is “Plant Mississippi Southern Style”,” Ingle said.
Ingle also stated that the FGC is honored to host the Southern Pine District meeting in October 2018 to be held at B. Gatewood Studio. “Those attending will be garden club members of Mississippi. The number in attendance will be around 100,” she said.
FGC also participates in the MSU Extension sponsored Creative Christmas event each November. Members sell seeds, plants, baked goods, and handmade wreaths among other items.
“In April each year, (April 27 the year) FGC holds a plant sell at the Forest Community Center (Kat’s Kave),” Ingles said.
“Members bring plants to sell that are grown in their gardens and advise buyers how to plant and care for them to help insure a successful outcome.”
Ongoing projects such as Library Educational Projects are displayed at the Forest Public Library. “This is very valuable to us here at the library,” Diane McLaurin, Assistant Branch Manager of the Forest Library said.
“The displays are changed every few months with the goal of inspiring the love of nature and future young gardeners and bring attention to the many natural resources in our community,” Ingle said. “Free seeds are often available at these displays to take home for planting.”
FGC has also donated yearly subscriptions of Birds and Bloom and Mississippi Gardener as well as a resource book Mississippi Trees provided by the U.S. Forestry Department.
“We also make yearly donations of books to the Scott County Elementary School libraries,” Ingles said. She also said that these books are on gardening, plants, and nature to encourage young gardeners.
“These two subscriptions that we could not afford otherwise are very valuable to the library,” McLaurin said. “A lot of people old and young come to the library to read these magazines.”
May Flowers is another project that the FGC club is a part of. Garden Club members make flower arrangements which are then placed in residents’ rooms at Lackey Convalescent Home starting on May 1 of each year.
“We also award a Yard of the Month which is chosen within the community that exemplifies the beauty of gardening.” Ingle said. “ The yard chosen may or may not be a Garden Club member,” she said.
Forest Garden Club also supports a number of sponsored projects of The Garden Clubs of Mississippi. Some of these include Roadside Beautification, Wildlife/Native Plants Fund, and Habitat for Humanity and many others.
“I have become so much more aware of the importance of bees and other pollinators such as butterflies and humming birds and how they make our gardens prosper,” club member Faye Hegwood said. “Our food source would not survive without our pollinators.”
Forest Garden Club’s programs this year have included:
• Recreational Director Bryan Kennedy of Bienville National Forest presented “Recreational Resources” and included the effects the southern pine beetles have had in our state.
• State Botanist/Herbarium Curator, Heather Sullivan, Mississippi Museum of Natural Science presented “Native Plants” and how important is it to implement these plants in our community,
• Bird feeding/Backyard habitat expert Marcie Lockett presented “Backyard Habitat” and offered advice on how to attract birds/pollinators to backyards through planting and planning.
• Local Zinnia Hobbyist Judy Wade presented “All About Zinnias” focusing on Zinnias that attract butterflies and hummingbirds and how to grow them from seeds.
“Each month a member brings a starter plant from their garden as a door prize drawing,” Ingle said. “Members also participate in a yearly plant exchange where members bring a plant from their garden to exchange.”
“I enjoy so many things about the garden club. The fellowship programs and working with our community,” she concluded.