Dave Hoovler

Rockford is a community of “green thumbs”

September 29, 2011 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY 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 […]

Gardeners and graves

August 25, 2011 // 0 Comments

On Friday evening, Aug. 19, Rockford Garden Club President Kathy Healy and members master gardener Nancy Hoovler, Dave Hoovler and Tom Healy assessed the progress of the Rockford Lions Club renovation of the old Pioneer Cemetery next to North Rockford Middle School on Division. To assure a proper landscaping of this historical site, the Garden Club graciously accepted the Lions’ request for their expertise in converting an eyesore into a treasure. Perfectly, the result would be the cemetery as it was originally. Unfortunately, there are missing records, pictures and memories. Comments of longtime Rockford residents Helen Hessler, Bob Gunnell and Lois Gunnell confirm that even in their childhood it was a neglected place with broken and scattered gravestones. Photos or illustrations of the cemetery in its original condition would be of great help in its restoration. Please dig out your old family albums, find great-grandpa’s gravesite and help us restore this treasure to its original beauty. The Rockford Lions have presently opened up a pleasant wooded hillside and valley. Taking this, the Garden Club is marking trees to keep or cut, identifying invasive species to remove, assuring the present carpet of myrtle is protected and developing a site plan that enhances the cemetery’s natural beauty. In the meantime, cutting continues, and free firewood is stacked in the west parking lot. Bring your own saw and join us between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. on Saturdays.