Aldersgate Garden Club shows youths how gardens grow
by By DAVID DAVIS Managing Editor
Aug 11, 2013 | 957 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Aldersgate Club
Banner photo, DAVID DAVIS
Margenia mcKissic shows 7-year-old Damarius Ballard a jar of cinnamon at the tree display she made for the Aldersgate Garden Club youth workshop Aug. 2 at College Hill Recreation Center. Damarius is the son of Michael and Tanasha Ballard.
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Kids learned how gardens grow, where every day things like cinnamon come from and how to make “grassy heads” or “soil babies” from potting soil and women’s hosiery recently at College Hill Recreation.

The Aldersgate Garden Club showed the children how to conserve energy, how to grow trees and fire safety tips from a Smoky Bear poster. It was an earth-friendly afternoon.

Charlotte Scott, hostess for the event, said this was Aldergate’s third year to have the youth workshop.

“We try to do a lot of activities with kids during the year to show them what gardening is all about. One of the other things we’re doing this year, is we actually have a vegetable garden. Kids planted the garden. They are growing vegetables and now they are harvesting the garden,” Scott said. “We met last week and picked corn, lima beans, cut okra and pulled eggplant.”

The club will kick off its Smoky Bear poster contest in October.

“They could go all the way to the national level with it,” she said. “We’re just trying to do things to let the kids know how important gardening is and the importance of starting at a young age.”

Maggie Burns of Chattanooga, Tennessee Federation of Garden Clubs District 3 Director, accepted an invitation from the local gardeners to observe the youth workshop.

“Garden clubs are encouraged to work with the youth,” she said. “Youths are the next garden club members.”

She said it is a plus when the national garden club see local clubs working with children.

“It’s a bonus for the local garden club to get these youths in here and show them all of the wonderful exhibits. Many of our members have daughters, daughters-in-law or granddaughters who have grown up and joined a garden club,” Burns said.

Garden clubs are not just for women. Many have men who are master gardeners or someone with an interest in gardening.

“We have couples, also in our clubs,” she said. “We’re working on a club right now that is primarily couples and they meet in the evenings. It just depends upon the location, the people and what they want to do.”

The national organization gives the state and local clubs project ideas in areas such as horticulture, floral design and working with the youth or community beautification projects.

“Our other primary purpose is to educate the public. When we have a flower show, we educate the public with our flowers and designs,” Burns said.

Burns joined a garden club 15 years ago almost as soon as she retired from her career and her interest blossomed from there.

“I love it. I love every aspect of it. We have members in their 70s and 80s and they are an inspiration. You learn from them,” she said. “We’re not just in our own yard, we’re in our community.”