Garden club members waive Christmas greetings

Garden club members waive Christmas greetings

Members of the McMinnville Garden Club grew, for the most part, on their own this year. 

Members of the McMinnville Garden Club have tended to flowers, fruits and other things throughout the coronavirus pandemic, but they haven't been able to hold monthly meetings, and many members haven't seen one another for months.

To brighten the gardeners' Christmas season, the club board assembled "swag bags" filled with the 2021 membership directory and gifts such as flower bulbs, handmade ornaments, chocolates and freshly baked cookies. Members picked them up last Monday in a drive-through event at Discovery Meadows Park. 

"It's a fun way to connect," said Betty Ballentine, club president. "It was uplifting. At least we got to wave."

The event provided members opportunity to make their annual donations to local nonprofits. They gave a total of $985 in cash that will be shared by Henderson House, A Family Place and Juliette's House, and filled the bed of a pickup with non-perishable comestibles for YCAP's food bank.

The club has about 75 members who share a passion for plants and helping others. With many of the members in the high-risk category, the president said, the club stopped meeting in person following its February gathering.

Some members have socialized in small groups in their yards, and the board has met using social distancing. Some have gathered to continue club activities such as cleaning up Third Street or spreading barkdust at the McMinnville Post Office.

But for the most part, Ballentine said, they've communicated only by email, phone and social media.

"Normally we look forward to the Christmas parade this time of year, and events like our garden tour in June," she said. "This year we had to cancel."

The club is eager to plan for the 2021 garden tour, which will be its 20th. Members hope people will be able to move about more freely by then. 

"We're all optimistic," she said. "Perhaps the vaccines are a light at the end of the tunnel."

Ballentine also is on the board for McMinnville's community garden, which raises produce donated to YCAP's countywide food bank.

"It was a very difficult season," she said, because volunteers worked only in small groups, wearing face coverings as they planted and hoed.

She said harvest was especially difficult, but the volunters were proud to have been able to contribute more than 14,000 pounds of food to YCAP. "People really needed it this year," she said.

Information about joining the garden club can be found on it Facebook page or website, at www.mcminnvillegardenclub.org.

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