By Christine Galeone
Whether it’s a sea of purple and yellow tulips soothing weary souls or symphonies of red geraniums and sunny mums energizing passersby, flowers are enchanting. They can brighten dark days. They can also provide a calming oasis.
The Greenleaf Garden Club of Milford understands the transformative power of flowers and plants. With spring on the horizon, the Club is looking forward to planting that power in the community.
The 47-member club is an affiliate of the National Garden Clubs and the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts, and it’s a member of the Worcester County Horticultural Society. Its mission is “to promote the knowledge and love of gardening and floral design and to support garden-related civic development in Milford.” It has monthly meetings in September through December and February through May, workshops and programs, community service projects, plant and wreath sales, field trips and an educational member newsletter.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Club is persevering in its mission. “It’s affected us in a lot of ways,” Gail Reichert, the Club’s President said. “It was challenging.”
At times, its meetings and programs were held via Zoom. The Club’s desire to keep people safe also necessitated the cancellation of its primary fundraiser in November 2020 as well as other fundraising events. Thankfully, Reichert said that Milford officials have been “more than gracious” in helping sustain its town beautification work.
The Club held a Gnome Day to show members its appreciation. Care packages were anonymously delivered to members’ homes. To let the more isolated members know that they hadn’t been forgotten, the Club also held Ding Dong Dash, a similar event in which thoughtful items were left anonymously on the doorsteps of homes of those members not able to attend Zoom meetings. “It’s a great little community…” Reichert shared. “It’s like a family.”
That family is also devoted to community service. In addition to awarding two scholarships to high school seniors, teaching children about gardening, and beautifying more than 20 sites throughout Milford, it offers regular garden therapy workshops for residents at Countryside Health Care of Milford. “We’ve been very fortunate to be able to do it,” Reichert said, noting that strict pandemic-related restrictions are observed. She added, “It’s great for the patients. I’ve heard from patients’ families, and they love it.”
With the Club’s annual plant sale fundraiser coming up on Saturday May 14 at Louisa Lake Park and its annual Downtown Plantings day also coming soon, the Club is looking forward to spring and normalcy. And like many gardeners, Reichert – who prefers flower gardening – is anticipating getting her hands dirty, “The minute the ground starts to thaw, I take a piece of yard every year and try to do something different with it.”
More information about the Club, which welcomes new members from Milford and surrounding towns, visit GreenLeafGardenclub.org.