Delaware Federation says ‘it’s not your grandmother’s club’

Date Published: 
Aug. 25, 2017

Coastal Point • Submitted: The Salt Air Gardeners are members of the Delaware Federation of Garden Clubs. The club won an award from DNREC for their plantings at the Indian River Lifesaving Station earlier this year.Coastal Point • Submitted: The Salt Air Gardeners are members of the Delaware Federation of Garden Clubs. The club won an award from DNREC for their plantings at the Indian River Lifesaving Station earlier this year.Calling all gardeners and wannabe landscapers — the Delaware Federation of Garden Clubs is looking for you.

Next Wednesday, Aug. 30, the Delaware Federation of Garden Clubs will be hosting an informational meeting regarding joining or starting a garden club. The membership event will be held at the South Coastal Library in Bethany Beach from 6 to 7 p.m.

“There are so many new communities here, and I don’t even think they know that we exist down here,” said Lisa Arni, president of the federation. “I am finding through the Master Gardeners and other organizations that people are moving here and saying, ‘OK, I bought this new house and have the builder’s minimal package of plants, and I don’t know what to plant here because I’m new to Delaware.’

“They’d be really good candidates because they just moved here, they don’t know anybody, they would make new friends and learn about what to plant in their communities and in their gardens.”

Arni said the 23 garden clubs that currently exist are filling quickly — a sign she believes means people are looking to get involved in their community.

“We started two new clubs last year. One of them has gone on to win DNREC’s award for their plantings at the Life-Saving Station’s museum. We have another new club in Millsboro — Plantation Lakes Garden Club — and they are on fire as well.

“They are just incredible. The two clubs are just go-getters,” she said, noting one has 50 members, while the other has more than 25 members. “That’s pretty amazing. It makes me think it’s not unique to just those two communities.”

Clubs offer programs to their members from horticulture education and design, along with doing community outreach and service projects.

“Right now, the Delaware Federation is partnering with the new Delaware Botanic Garden at Pepper Creek, and we’re the sole providers of the tree plantings next to the meadow being planted in September. We just planted six trees from the Delaware Federation at the Botanic Garden,” she said, adding that it fits in with the national theme of “Plant America.”

“We offered the clubs the opportunity to save up $100 of their fundraising and offer that with a form to honor or in memory of a member. They purchased a tree planting at the Delaware Botanic Garden near the new meadow that’s being planted in September.

“I have 18 trees already paid for, and those were the first six that went in — that’s one of my President’s Projects — the ‘TREE-mendous tree planting’ at the new Botanic Garden.”

The membership drive is the other President’s Project in Arni’s “TREE-mendous Delaware Membership Growth.”

“Every organization needs new members, new ideas, new everything, to survive,” she said, adding that they plan to first target Sussex County before moving upstate. “Membership growth has never been tackled in 12 years… and it’s time. It’s really time.”

Arni noted that most of the clubs don’t meet in July and August, although some do. Along with area club meetings, the state federation holds meetings.

Those who are interested in beautifying their community, learning and meet new friends should consider attending the informational meeting, she said.

“It’s not your grandmother’s club anymore,” said Arni. “The new clubs are in-action. There is no sitting in that rocker for them. We are willing to help new clubs get started, and to mentor them.”

South Coastal Library is located at 43 Kent Avenue in Bethany Beach. Those who wish to attend are being asked to RSVP by calling (302) 841-3632 or emailing abhutchison47@gmail.com.