Garden Clubs of Cranford earn a green thumb through activities

CANFORD, NJ — The Floraphile Garden Club of Cranford is an active group that plans outdoor events, group fundraisers and community service opportunities. Members generally meet on Mondays, but for anyone whose schedule conflicts with this, there is no need to worry as there are several active garden clubs in Cranford.
The Floraphile Garden Club held its end of the year celebration Monday, May 16 at the home of member Debra Phipps-Nicolls. There were a variety of baked goods and fresh fruits on a candlelit table for members to enjoy. There was also a garden tour at the Vogel residence, in addition to a plant swap.
The group also visited Greenwood Gardens at Short Hills on Monday, June 13. The 28-acre garden is surrounded by 1,200 acres of parkland, including South Mountain Reservation. The gardens were a private estate until 2003, when the Blanchard family decided to transform it into a public garden. Greenwood Gardens is preserving the gardens, architecture and landscape of Greenwood for the delight and education of the public. There is a strong respect for the land, as well as an appreciation for nature, by working to preserve the land and promote its conservation and stewardship.
“Floraphile Garden Club was founded in 1950,” Jenna Fischer, a club member and publicist, told the LocalSource. “It was one of 15 garden clubs in Cranford and ladies were selected through the Junior Service League. We are currently one of three remaining garden clubs in Cranford, with 25 members of all ages and gardening abilities. One of the focuses of our club is community service, including the clean-up and beautifying of the First Aid Squad, Cranford Community Center and Girl Scout Park.
“We also offer horticultural therapy programs at the Atria of Cranford (senior living center). And, in the future, we plan on growing our junior gardeners program. Our youth program will provide members, ages 5-18, with the tools to develop their gardening skills, learn to protect the environment and opportunities to learn flower design.”
During the month of May, the group participated in a variety of clean-up events. Members brought their shovels and rakes to the First Aid Squad and the Girl Scout Park and said the events were a success.
“The Girl Scout Park looks beautiful,” Lindsay Doscher said, adding, “The pictures look great!”
The Green Thumb Garden Club of Cranford is another local club. It was featured at an event Saturday, June 18, at Hanson Park. This “Make It and Take It Simply Succulent Workshop” featured the garden group, whose members demonstrated how to arrange, propagate and care for succulents, and participants took home a small succulent planter. All supplies were provided, but participants were encouraged to bring their own gardening gloves. This event was sponsored by Hanson Park Conservancy and brought to life by a grant made available by Merck.
“As a club, we also offer well-informed monthly programs on garden-related topics,” Doscher said. “This past year, we had a beekeeping presentation by the Tomaro Honey Company, a fairy garden workshop at Williams Nursery in Westfield and a terrarium presentation at Parker Gardens. We also enjoy hands-on workshops. Recently, we made stained glass and cement stepping stones. In the spring, we often take tours of various gardens around the state, like Greenwood Gardens in Short Hills or the Presby Memorial Iris Garden in Montclair.”
Another event at Hanson Park was the “Free Tree and Shrub Pruning Workshop,” with Andrew Cossa of A. Cossa Landscape Design. Members were taught when and what to prune, and about the tools necessary for this. There was also a tutorial on the instruction of proper use of pruning tools, with an emphasis was on safety and maintenance. Participants also watched a demonstration on methods and techniques of pruning on different trees and shrubs at Hanson Park.
Additionally, the Floraphile Club of Cranford participated in an event at Parker Gardens, where members were introduced to terrarium gardening, which is an option for anyone with limited garden space. They also participated in a community service event at Atria Assisted Living Facility, where they used horticultural therapy to brighten the day of its senior citizen residents.