Hinckley Garden Club blossoms with gardening tips

by Chris Studor

As many are now knee deep in dirt, tending to their backyard flower beds and vegetable gardens this time of year, the Hinckley Garden Club reminds residents that the group’s members are not only a valuable resource when it comes to sharing gardening tips and other information, but the club is an easy way to make gardening friends.

The club was founded in 1973 as the Organic Gardening & Farming Club and its name was later was changed to the Hinckley Garden Club. Since its’ inception, the club has grown to about 40 members.

As part of the club’s May 23 meeting, the sidewalk outside the township administration building was lined with dozens of plants members had donated for the club’s annual spring plant exchange. On the other side of the sidewalk, rows of beautiful flower baskets tempted guests to buy raffle tickets in hopes of being chosen a winner.

“The purpose of the club originally was to share farming and gardening information with members of the community with monthly newsletters going out to the members with tips on what to plant, care and the like,” said Garden Club President, Linda Fussi. “Our mission is the same now as it was in the beginning – to share and gain gardening knowledge, participate in community projects and to help protect the natural environment by creating backyard havens for wildlife.”

The club meets monthly starting in March and ending in October each year and hosts a variety of speakers, tours the gardens of its members and sponsors field trips with garden-related themes. The club also cares for and maintains township garden areas.

During the club’s May meeting, every seat in the house was taken to hear guest speaker Judy Semroc of Nature Spark address the differences between native plant and invasive plant species. Semroc said native plants are plants that existed in America prior to the arrival of the first Europeans. Plants brought from other countries are termed invasive plants species.

Semroc emphasized that plants brought over from other countries, while sometimes attractive, can invade areas of native plants choking out the native species which area insects and birds rely on as primary food sources. She provided those in attendance with photos and list of native species which could be used instead of the damaging invasive species.

She also addressed the program, Homegrown National Park, which urges homeowners to plant native species in their yards, including plants that attract monarch butterflies migrating to Mexico. ∞