On this crisp and sunny fall morning members of the Green Fingers Garden Club were busy planting daffodil bulbs in anticipation of spring. The planting of spring blooming bulbs at various locations in town is something the club, a member of the Garden Clubs of America, tries to do every year, according to club president Betsy Mulcare. However, this year’s effort, known as “TEAM 75,” is a special one because the club is celebrating its 75th anniversary. According to Barb Kaytes, the club’s Civic Improvement Chairman, members are working together in teams and have decided to plant in places where they have done work in the past.
The “TEAM 75″ planting began at 9 a.m. this morning at the William Street playground. The gardeners then moved on to the Ferry Boat Landing where they have also recently had an old and unsightly chain link fence replaced with an attractive new fence.I caught up with the group at 11 a.m. just as they began to plant 500 daffodil bulbs at Wilbur Peck Court, a Greenwich Housing Authority development where the garden club has done extensive work over the years.
Garden club members were joined in this project by a team of Wilbur Peck Court residents, mostly children who were off from school because it is Election Day. Helping the children with the planting were 3 staff members from Community Centers, Inc. of Greenwich: social workers Lauren Falconi and Pam Bell and program coordinator Ramon Lara. This community service agency, otherwise known as CCI, offers a variety of programs to persons of all ages, most of whom are residents of Housing Authority developments. CCI was instrumental in coordinating the team effort between residents and garden club members.
The children and the garden club members worked together for over an hour planting clusters of bulbs in the front areas of the housing complex and by the entrance sign where Mulcare said the daffodils would be “welcoming.” CCI staff members Lara and Bell dug holes in which a group of children that included Amber, Alma, Jorge and Jada placed bulbs. They wanted to know how many bulbs should go in each hole.
“How many is too many?” The answer: “Eleven.” A further answer: ” Seven is nice.” The plan was to plant the bulbs in a haphazard fashion, not with exactly the same number in each cluster. “They naturalize and multiply,” a garden club member said.
Mulcare said that Wilbur Peck Court was a site where the club had done a lot of work in the past. In 2008, they planted a tree with the Greenwich Tree Conservancy and have done landscaping in the front and back of the buildings. The landscaping includes plants that came from members’ own gardens.
Just over ten years ago, in 1999 and 2000, the club undertook a major project that involved taking up all the asphalt in back of one of the buildings and replacing it with square pavers that allow grass to grow, while still keeping the area accessible to fire trucks as required. The new grassy space has become a recreational area that includes picnic tables and barbecue grills. Trish Stefani, a 20-year member of the club, was the driving force behind this renovation.
The club’s many projects reflect “our keen sense of civic pride and our commitment to the town,” according to Kaytes. The “Preview of Spring” party is the club’s main fundraiser that makes all these civic projects possible. The next “Preview of Spring,” a major flower show that takes place in late February and early March, will be in 2012.