Master Gardener in Training
As a not-quite-graduated master gardener and former office person, I was overwhelmed by the seven acres of mud, clay, and rocks that came under my care last year. Not to mention the red bricks, white bricks, and broken bricks (my property along the Rail Trail used to house a brick factory). Plus, there was a huge thorny mound that looked vaguely threatening. My gardening dreams started to feel a bit naive.
Then I joined the Belfast Garden Club (BGC). Life changed. No more overwhelming feelings. I met people who shared their wisdom, energies, plants, and resources. Their generosity extends beyond horticulture. For example, in 2021, the BGC made a donation to Aging Well in Waldo County (AWWC), in recognition of their work meeting the needs of elders in the community.
The following list offers a sample of the activities of the BGC and how you can become involved.
- Go Public. We maintain nearly a dozen public gardens throughout Belfast, including the pollinator garden at Wales Park (a must-see at the height of summer) and the well-named “Water-Loo” garden at the Belfast Wharf. Intrigued? Grab a map and take a tour. http://belfastgardenclub.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/bgcmap_color_asterisk.pdf
- Buy a Plant or Two or Three or More. BGC offers a huge array of locally sourced ornamentals, herbs, vegetables, and even a few cacti for sale. This year the plant sale will be held on Saturday, June 4 (rain date-June 5), 10:00am-1:00pm at the Belfast Boathouse.
- See the “Secret Gardens”. Every year, the BGC invites visitors into some of the area’s most amazing private gardens. Visit English gardens, early gardens, organic farms, and projects that have taken years of care and cultivation to come to full bloom. A season pass is available, proof that gardening can be a spectator sport. You’ll find the Open Gardens schedule on www.belfastgardenclub.com
And of course the best opportunity is to join the Belfast Garden Club. There are lots of ways to volunteer, and, mercifully, few of them involve manure. http://belfastgardenclub.org/contact-us/ And a big relief for me: the camaraderie is year round.
In fact, even when gardens are dormant and it’s too early to obsess over seed catalogues, BGC offers a range of educational programs and other activities. I’ve learned so much about wild blueberries, woodland plants, brown-tailed moths, how gardening is being transformed with the changing climate, and also a bit about Tanzanian wildlife (you can catch a replay of that one here) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBqrJfQ49h0.
With help from the Belfast Garden Club, I’ve even learned about that scary thorny invasive plant in the middle of my yard and how to get rid of it. After that, I’m going to tackle the bricks!