San Juan Island Garden Club celebrates 75 years

Submitted by the San Juan Island Garden Club

The San Juan Island Garden Club was established in 1947 to promote beauty and gardening interest in the islands. They are celebrating their 75th year.

Over the decades the club has cared for the English Garden at English Camp, bought and installed the plants at the Circle Garden, and furnished the landscape plants at the island’s first medical center. Recently they donated 400 daffodils to the new animal shelter. Every year since 1982 the club has monetarily supported the purchase and maintenance of the hanging baskets which festoon the Friday Harbor downtown area during the summer.

The monthly meetings are on the first Tuesday of the month at 1 p.m. at the Mullis Center, September –December and February-June. Coffee, tea and visiting time precede the ‘get down to the business meeting followed by speakers on horticultural topics. Zoom meetings have kept the members connected for the past couple of years.

The club has offered fall bulb classes and a spring session on hanging baskets. Off-island tours to the Amazon Spheres in Seattle, Chihuly Glass and Garden at the Seattle Center, the Dahlia show in Bellingham as part of the continuing education. December often features a trip to Molbak’s Nursery in Woodinville just for the fun of it. An excursion to the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival offers new ideas, informative lectures and hope for spring. The guest speaker visit of Ciscoe Morris, in 2019, was hosted by the garden club. The event was both educational and a great deal of fun.

The Children’s Vegetable Garden at the back of the Elementary School is funded and staffed by the club. Every grade from kindergarten through 5th grade has a growing project, starting with a Fairy Garden for the little ones and a pollinator garden for the big kids. Beds of radish, salad greens, onions and spinach are planted for the communal salad bar at the end of the school year. In summer, we water and harvest the produce for the food bank.

Look for the San Juan Island Garden Club banner at the San Juan County Fair in August. The club, with much help from the island gardening community, supervises the flower hall from set up to clean up each year.

As the garden club members emerge from the COVID restrictions of the past couple of years they are looking for ways they can continue serving the islands and renew the emphasis on education. The goal is to share our activities with both the plunk and plant gardeners as well as the very experienced gardeners who sometimes use Latin plant names.