By Sharon Tooley.
My name is Sharon Tooley and I am the current District Director of the Palomar District of California Garden Clubs lnc., (CGCI). CGCI is part of the Pacific Region of National Garden Clubs lnc. which is the largest volunteer gardening organization in the world.
We are the largest District in CGCI with about 2,000 members within 27 garden clubs, 5 affiliates and 2 youth groups. We usually get together three times a year for a formal meeting, lunch and a speaker. These meetings are hosted by one of our garden clubs and are a great time to see other garden members, exchange ideas and support each other's events. I send out a newsletter "The Pruner" three times a year with articles, pictures and with a listing of special events.
Needless to say, this year has been a challenge for all our clubs. Our clubs have been meeting via Zoom, sending out emails and sharing pictures and cartoons over the internet. Several clubs have come up with some interesting ways to stay connected . . .
· Poway Valley GC was able to participate in the Poway Farmers Market held each Saturday on Midland Drive. Members met in the fall on different days in small groups to plant succulent bowls, make wreaths and create designs with Tillandsias. These were sold over two Saturdays in December raising over $2,000 for club projects in 2021.
· Bernardo Gardeners GC hosted an "Operation Santa Claus" for military families from Camp Pendleton. The club provided 12 families with gift cards for groceries and clothes. Plus, individual members adopted a family, filled their wish lists and added some extra surprises.
· Village Garden Club of La Jolla held a "Masked up Drive-By" in September to distribute their yearbooks, collect for Penny Pines and hand out Shinoda shopping cards. In November they had a "Masked up Drive-By Yard Sale" where they sold items to support their School Yard Gardening Grants Program and signed handmade holiday cards destined for the VA Hospital.
· Lastly, the Mission Hills Garden Club has been sponsoring monthly Zoom lectures open to the public. ln February Adam Graves talks about horticulture in the San Diego Zoo, and in March Nan Sterman will talk about growing, cooking and eating the Mediterranean way. You can register on their website for any lecture. They have also set a date for their Annual Garden Walk - Saturday, May 8th.
lt is truly great to see clubs going forward with confidence and setting dates for events in 2021! I will continue to feature garden club events when I do this column.
As a last note, I would like to promote one of my favorite plants - Gomphrena "Fireworks". This is a gangly plant with pink blooms that attracts Monarch butterflies. This plant has been blooming for at least 6 months (it's still going strong) and had Monarchs on it every day all summer. lt also makes a great cut flower and works well in floral designs.
Thanks for reading my column and I look forward to many more.