Club grows legacy one tree at a time

A SHADY FUTURE—Nancy Hoovler and Judy Markee help a Shaner Avenue Nursery staffer plant one of three trees the Rockford Garden Club donated to Rockford Public Schools. These trees will shade the hill by the softball field.

A SHADY FUTURE—Nancy Hoovler and Judy Markee help a Shaner Avenue Nursery staffer plant one of three trees the Rockford Garden Club donated to Rockford Public Schools. These trees will shade the hill by the softball field.

When the Rockford Garden Club asked Rockford schools where they would like a few new trees planted, Jim VanHouten of the grounds department had the answer.

On Thursday, April 9, club members joined VanHouten and staff from Shaner Nursery at a high school ball field. A sunny hilltop where families sit to watch their student-athletes play was cool in April, but can be uncomfortably warm in summer months. The Garden Club had just the solution in three maples.

“We very rarely buy trees, we focus on other things, so we really appreciate this when it happens,” said VanHouten.

The Rockford Garden Club is one of many organizations in Rockford that contribute to the quality of life in our town. Donating trees to Rockford Public Schools is an on-going effort. This year the club was able to buy the three trees at about $180 each for the high school. The trees will eventually reach 45 feet and provide a good amount of shade.

So far the club has donated to several other schools, and has the goal of donating one to each school in the district. When they contacted the high school, they were asked if they could donate more than one.

Funds for trees and an annual scholarship for a Rockford High School graduate going into the field of horticulture come from an annual plant sale which has grown very successful as the word has gotten out about the great deals offered.

This year’s sale is scheduled for Saturday, May 16, at the Rotary pavilion located at the corner of Squire and Courtland in downtown Rockford.

The public will enjoy the efforts of the 66 members and their green thumbs as they sell home grown garden goods  including perennials,  ground covers, small bushes/shrubs, annuals, herbs, bulbs and vines. Members will be on hand to offer advice and answer questions. Many are master gardeners.

The open sale begins at 9:00 a.m.  and at 11:30 there will be an auction of remaining plants. Shoppers can enjoy the low prices and wide selection, as well as free advice. Spend freely and know that proceeds go toward good works such as the donation project for Rockford Public Schools.

VanHouten stated, “As a school district we love to see this going on. We also have lots of memorial trees in the district. Families sometimes donate a tree in the name of their son or daughter. We provide plaques so people can read them and know where the tree came from.”

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