Rockford is a community of “green thumbs”

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL

Rockford Garden Club initiates project to beautify the perimeter of the Community Garden located behind the Rockford Administration Building. Pictured (l- r) Dave Hoovier, Jim Kilbourne, and Nancy Kilbourne. Not pictured: Nancy Hoovler, Kathy and Tom Healy. Photo by CLIFF HILL

Whether it’s purchasing and consuming healthy and just harvested local farm produce at Rockford’s award-winning Saturday morning Farmers Market or planting and tending your own garden in one of two Rockford Community Gardens, this has been a banner year.

Rockford’s Farm Market was named America’s Favorite Farm Market in an online contest and Rockford Public Schools two Community Gardens have been a huge success in their inaugural year.

Rockford is a diverse community of people interested in wellness, nutrition, the environment, stewardship, and civic responsibility, not to mention “Green Thumbs”.

Seeking to further their mission of stimulating the love of gardening, The Rockford Garden Club recently received permission from Lisa Jacobs, Executive Director Rockford Schools Community Services, to undertake a project to beautify the west gated entrance to the Community Garden located directly behind the Rockford Administration Building on Main Street.

Garden Club President Kathy Healy tells us the Club will initially beautify two 11’ x 8’ sections on either side of the main entrance to the Garden. In future years, the Garden Club members plan on adding to, and extending, the beautified area outside the fenced perimeter of the Garden. “We think a beautiful eye-popping perimeter will add to the outdoor learning laboratory consisting of 39 raised planting beds within the fenced perimeter of the garden,” Healy said.

Preliminary work on this project began Monday evening, September 19, when the two sections of ground were rototilled in preparation for the planting stage to follow. Some plants and shrubs will be placed this fall with the remainder to follow next spring.

Plantings will include seasonally colorful and flowering shrubs, perennials, and possibly annuals for additional pizazz. Some of the plantings will be native to Michigan. Some, if not most, of the plants will come from the club members own gardens and others will be purchased locally. “All costs associated with the project will be underwritten by The Rockford Garden Club,” said Healy, adding, “We do this to encourage home and community beautification, to promote better horticultural practices, and to encourage all forms of conservation.”

Organized in 1924, The Rockford Garden Club currently boasts 50+ members. Their work over the years has been in evidence throughout the greater Rockford community. The central flower garden in Garden Club Park is a prime example.

The Club is proud to have among their members 15 MSU Certified Master Gardeners, 12 Advanced Master Gardeners, and a few Master Naturalists.

The Rockford Garden Club meets monthly September – May on the 4th Tuesday of every month at Rockford United Methodist Church from 7 – 9 p.m. Membership is open to anyone interested in joining. For more information call Ron Osgood at 616-831-9473.

For information and/or availability of a garden plot in the Community Gardens themselves, contact Lisa Jacobs at 616-863-6322.

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