“Members of the Blue Hill Garden Club have risen to the challenge of remaining productive despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, and they have no plans to slow down,” according to a news release from the garden club.
Blue Hill Community Garden
The club has transformed a section of lawn beside the George Stevens Academy’s Hinckley Dormitory on Tenney Hill into the 1,600-square-foot Blue Hill Community Garden. Volunteers broke ground last year and then worked with local teachers and students to start seeds over the winter. Once spring arrived they got busy planting! They also erected a fence to keep deer from harvesting the fruits and veggies of their labors, added a picnic table to encourage visitors to spend time in the garden, and built a shed to house tools and other supplies.
During the final work day of 2020 last week, volunteer Hilary Warren described the efforts of the group: “The garden provides free, nutritious produce that is available to everyone and it is a great site for activities that focus on gardening, food production, environmental science and nutrition. All in all, we produced about 1,000 pounds of fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers in our first year, and spinach and arugula are still available for people to come pick. We will grow even more in 2021.”
Plans for next year include the addition of raised beds to the garden and a kiosk. Elevated beds will enable people with mobility issues to more easily harvest produce, and the kiosk will serve as a message center to hold educational materials and the volunteer and harvest logbooks.
The garden club participated in a fundraising program that ran through December 15 called #SeedMoneyChallenge. Community members donated money to support the garden and SeedMoney matched the contributions.
Mill Stream Bridge wreaths
Each year, the garden club provides and maintains flower and vegetable boxes at crosswalks and along the railings of the bridge on Main Street throughout the summer. As temperatures change, the decorations change, and just after Thanksgiving, volunteers made and hung festive grapevine wreaths along the railing of the bridge. “The wreaths are our way of wishing our community a happy holiday season,” said club member Callie Curtis. “Especially this year, with the difficulties brought on by the pandemic, we hope they help lift the spirits of people passing by.”
Knowing that programs will need to remain remote in the coming months, club members have started a garden-centric book club that meets once a month by Zoom. This book club has a twist—instead of everyone reading the same book and then discussing it, members individually choose whatever garden-oriented book(s) sound appealing, read them, and then share their thoughts about them with one another. “This lets everyone learn about books we might not otherwise investigate and opt to read them—or not—after we hear what someone else has to say about any given book,” said BookWorm organizer Susan Brookman. “Our only rule is that each book must focus on a gardening topic—they can be fiction or non-fiction, for adults or for younger audiences, in paper, audio or e-book format—heck—someone could even review a gardening magazine or catalogue!”
New members are welcome to join. For more information, visit the garden club’s website at bluehillgardenclub.wordpress.com/ or visit its page on Facebook.