By Lisa Carolin
The Chelsea Garden Club will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in December.
All that you have to do is look at the planters around Chelsea to appreciate s small portion of the work of the members of the club do for the community.
The club started with fewer than a dozen people and now boasts more than 65 members. Among them is Christine Forsch, who was one of the first members and a two-time president of the Garden Club.
“You don’t have to be a resident to belong,” said Forsch. “It costs $15 a year, and we ask that you be an active member and participate in work projects, which are really fun.”
For example, club members recently potted 375 irises from members’ gardens in preparation for the club’s annual plant sale in May.
“They will get roots over the winter,” said Forsch. “The plants we sell are really good stock and can withstand a Michigan winter. We’ll probably sell the irises for $5. They’d cost $10-$20 in stores.”
The plant sale is the Chelsea Garden Club’s signature event, and is held annually in early May. Hundreds of people attend and it’s a big fundraiser for the club. Proceeds help fund grants that the club gives out including an annual scholarship at Chelsea High School.
“Being involved with the plant sale has been especially rewarding – sharing plants, getting to know members better, learning from others experiences,” said Garden Club member Merrill Crockett. “I enjoy working and being with fellow garden enthusiasts. Plus, I’ve made a bunch of new friends.”
For one of the Garden Club’s founding members, Mary Randolph, the plant sale is one of the highlights.
“I have a passion to make a difference in the community with civic beautification, grants and scholarships,” said Randolph.
Grant recipients in 2018 include the Chelsea District Library, which will fund enhancements to Katie’s Korner, the Chelsea Senior Center’s Intergenerational Garden Summer Intern Program, and Children’s Gardening Activities at the Chelsea Farmers Market.
The club meets from September through May on the second Monday of the month at noon at the Chelsea First United Methodist Church on Park Street.
“We have gardening programs every month at the meeting as well as talking about business,” said Forsch. “The programs include butterfly gardening, landscaping, and the role of mushrooms in the environment.”