Editor, Despite dreary skies and the threat of rain, the Richmond Hill Garden Club’s 16th annual Pumpkin Patch, held in early October, was a great success thanks to the generous support of local citizens. The Garden Club is truly grateful to those who attended, those who helped us publicize and arrange the occasion and those who volunteered at the event itself.
The occasion was fun for all. Children — many in costume — romped among the pumpkins, climbed hay bales and carefully selected the perfect pumpkin to take home. Parents snapped picture after picture of their youngsters playing or visiting with the pumpkin fairy. The games were fun for everyone, with prizes for all participants.
Everyone enjoyed the home-baked goodies at the food booth and browsed through the holiday decorative and craft items, taking home their favorites to adorn their own houses and yards. A special event again this year was the plant giveaway, with the focus on vegetables. The club hopes to spark an interest in gardening among young and old alike, as a kind of extension of the club’s Green Thumb Kids project at the Farmers Market.
The Pumpkin Patch is a family-oriented time that everyone enjoys. The Garden Club’s only fundraising effort, it enables the club to complete its many projects that benefit the community. The club has a long history of civic involvement, dating from its beginning in 1955.
The club has planted and maintains a garden at Henderson Park. This area is an ongoing effort and is expanded each season. Bluebirds nest there, and butterflies flock to the blooming native plants. At the library, the G-Team (Gardening Team) takes care of the beds at the front entrance, which the team planted several years ago.
Selecting a Yard of the Month allows the club to highlight residents’ gardening efforts and thereby inspire others to improve their yards. Judges rotate subdivisions for each selection so that everyone has an opportunity to win this honor. Winners receive gift certificates.
Participating in the Christmas Parade also allows us to encourage growing beautiful plants, as we distribute 1,000 daffodil bulbs each year to parade attendees.
In April, the club hosts a plant exchange open to the public. Even those without plants to swap can attend that event and take home plants. We see this as a way to give to the community while sharing the plants we love best propagated from our own gardens.
Furthermore, the club supports numerous community groups. It collects canned goods for and donates funds to the Way Station. It donates funds to the Richmond Hill library to expand its collection of books related to gardening. This includes both adult and children’s books. New additions are currently in the new-book section of the library. The club also participates in the Family Promise Bedspread Derby and donates funds to the Reid House in Savannah.
In correspondence with one focus of the state Garden Club of Georgia, the club offers a $1,000 scholarship each year to a student graduating from Richmond Hill High School and planning to major in an agricultural-related area such as horticulture or landscape design. Also in cooperation with the Garden Club of Georgia, the local club participates in the Ronald McDonald Pull Tabs program.
Monthly meetings in September, November, January, February, March and May, feature a presentation related to gardening, environmental concerns, or the outdoors in general. These meetings, held at 10 a.m. on the second Wednesday of the month in the John W. Stevens Wetlands Education Center in J.F. Gregory Park, are open to the public. Anyone interested in joining the club or simply learning about gardening and the club is urged to attend. The November meeting this year will not be held on the usual day or in the usual place. Instead the club will meet at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4, in the recreation department’s Bottom Building. The subject is crafting decorative wreaths.
The Richmond Hill Garden Club is most appreciative of the community’s support of the Pumpkin Patch and, through numerous activities, is happy, in turn, to support the Richmond Hill/South Bryan County community.
Each year’s Pumpkin Patch is held on the first Saturday in October. Check your calendar now and pencil in that date. We hope to see you next year with your cameras, children and friends, ready to stroll through our patch to find pumpkins, mums and decorative items and ready to enjoy face painting, games and delicious food. In other words, we’re already looking forward to having fun with you again. Garden Club members will tell you that we enjoy seeing you have fun at the Pumpkin Patch as much as we hope you enjoy attending.
Gloria Shearin, president
Richmond Hill Garden Club