Shrewsbury Garden Club cultivates next generation of members
By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – The Shrewsbury Garden Club is not just for adults anymore. Now, junior members ages 4 to 18 can join the club. There are currently over 40 junior members.
Two years ago, the club introduced a seed starting workshop in April at the Shrewsbury Public Library for children curious about gardening. They were taught the basics of starting seeds that would sprout into flowers and vegetables. A sizeable turnout prompted the club to organize another workshop for children and their caregivers to decorate May baskets with live flowers.
Distributed at the club's annual spring plant sale, flyers announced the Shrewsbury Garden Club Junior Membership. Diana Karas, a club member for two years, volunteered to chair the new program.
“I's enjoying all of the fun things that I want to do with my kids, and now I get to do it with everyone else's kids, too,” she said. “I's even learning more about gardening along the way, which is great.”
Junior membership consists of four age divisions, beginning with “Seedlings” for children in preschool and kindergarten.
“They learn about getting their hands dirty in a controlled environment,” Karas explained. “It gets them excited with an initial interest that they planted a seed and it grew.”
The next age division is “Sprouts” for grades one through four. Karas noted that this age group responded particularly well to the seed starting workshop, which will be held annually.
“They'se beginning to understand a bit more about what's going on with the plants,” she said. “The older kids can notice differences, so they learn about the different types of seeds.”
Students in grades five through eight are in the “Saplings” division and ready to take the next step in gardening.
“They'se making a greater connection and putting everything into action in an actual garden,” Karas said.
The “Sequoias” division for grades nine through 12 currently has only one member, Sonali Razdan, a junior at Shrewsbury High School, who began the Green Club with her peers. Karas hopes more high school students will join.
“It would be great to get more high school students involved because the garden club provides scholarships,” she noted. “Last year, we were able to give away three $1,000 scholarships.”
Also, the club can sign for community service hours for high school students who help with junior membership programing or town beautification projects.
In response to successful junior membership workshops conducted the past two years in April and May, the club added meetings with seasonal themes nearly monthly at the library. In September, junior members created entries for Scarecrows on the Commons, which the club sponsors annually during the Spirit of Shrewsbury Fall Festival.
“It was truly funny to see them putting together the scarecrows” outfits and making their faces,” Karas recalled. “The kids” imaginations ran wild with all the options.”
In October, junior members decorated gourds and pumpkins for Halloween. Arrangements of live greens were created in November for Thanksgiving centerpieces.
Scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 12, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., young garden enthusiasts will craft a holiday ornament with miniature pinecones, seedpods, acorns and other natural items. Space is limited and priority is given to junior members. It's open to nonmembers if spaces are still available. To register, contact Sharon Martin at the library at 508-842-0081, ext. 4.
For junior membership registration information, visit maclubs.esiteasp.com/shrewsburygardenclub/home.nxg.
New members and workshop ideas are welcomed, Karas added.
“A goal of the garden club is to teach and inspire everything about gardening, flowers, plants and horticulture,” she said, “so a way to fulfill that goal was by starting the junior membership.”
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