Club grows a community for gardeners

The Elgin Courier: October 10, 2018

As the Texas flora prepares for the approaching cooler weather, the Elgin Gardening Club braved mist and the threat of rain to learn about winter gardening techniques at Bloomer’s Garden Center after their October 2 meeting.

The Elgin Garden Club was started by a group of retired teachers who wanted a garden club with no dues and no membership, according to club president Bonnie Groves. In 1993, Groves had just moved from Vermont and joined the club; one year later, the previous president, Mary Jo Galbraith, retired, and Groves was chosen as the new president.

Groves had previously been the president of an antique car club in Vermont; she said the spirit of the garden club is much more supportive and collaborative than the car club.

“There were the Ford people arguing with the Cadillac people and the Cadillac people arguing with the Packard people,” she said, “but in our garden club, everyone helps everybody else. We’re all good friends, and it’s an easy job because we’re all such nice people.”

Groves said when she came to Texas, she had to find out the different challenges of gardening in Texas when compared to Vermont. She said one major challenge in Texas is the heat and the lack of rain. For example, Groves loves roses and has a garden full of various varieties; some types, such as antique roses and China roses, do well in Texas, and she has a couple of Old Gay Hill Red China roses that she doesn’t water and are now taller than her.

“I really didn’t know a whole lot about gardening in Texas, which is a lot different than Vermont,” Groves said. “In Vermont, you have to think about winter hardiness; here in Texas, you have to think drought-tolerant.

“The garden club is very nice, we swap plants. I found out what does well here in Texas, and it’s not what does well in Vermont.”

The garden club isn’t just shopping at Bloomer’s and trading plants, however; they also host speakers who talk to the club about plants and gardening. Last month, during the September meeting, the club hosted Mike Shoup from the Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham. Shoup brought roses, including some of the pink, fragrant Savannah rose, which Groves bought.

The club also hosts an annual plant sale every May that funds a scholarship for one graduating student. This year, the club raised enough funds to provide two scholarships, thanks to plants donated by Gabriel Valley Farms, a nursery in Georgetown.

They also take a couple of trips per year to places such as East Austin Succulents.

“When we get together, everything is a good time,” Groves said.

The Elgin Garden Club holds a monthly meeting at 9:30 a.m. on the second Tuesday of every month in the First National Bank community room.


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