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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Growing passion for gardens

By Charlotte Huntley

The Week
The Elkhorn Garden Club plants a tree at the Webster House in Elkhorn.
With the promise of spring, garden clubs look forward to getting in the dirt again and Elkhorn Garden Club is no exception. The group was started in 1927, and continues to plant flowers around Elkhorn. This year the plantings will be in the boulevard on East Walworth Street, at the Government Center in the downtown square and around Matheson Memorial Library. Elaine Roth is their garden designer.

In the fall they have a booth at the Elkhorn Fall Festival on the Square, where they sell homemade items, such as Donna Zwolfer's homemade bread and Joan Johnson's pies. Funds raised at that time are used for a $250 scholarship for an Elkhorn High School student, for gifts to the Matheson Memorial Library, as well as to purchase the flowers and trees that they plant. In the past, they donated a 48-inch sundial to West Side School. It has since been vandalized and they feel sad that they don't have the equipment or the funds to repair it.

Dolores Panzer is secretary, and Virginia Heggie is treasurer. Dues are $7 a year. Besides meetings, they go on trips and tours, such as to the Rotary Gardens and various arboretums, luncheons and one summer picnic.

Currently, they decorate the lobby of the Government Center for each season. February saw a Valentine theme and for the first time, in March, they featured live plants to complement the Easter display. They will move the live plants outside when they change the display.

Each April, in honor of Arbor Day, they plant a tree in memory of someone. They have planted trees at Matheson Library and at the Government Center, at Tibbets School, the middle school, post office and Sunset Park, which they were instrumental in getting started. Twenty-five years ago, it was a garbage dump; they planted lilac bushes and got the city's attention. Last year they planted five new maple trees in the park.
Elkhorn Garden Club meets year around, on the second Wednesday of each month at 1 p.m. In the April meeting, a speaker will be talking about shrubs and bushes. Call Phyllis Olson at (262) 723-3368 for the location of the meetings and for more information.

In Fontana
Fontana Garden Club marked their 50th anniversary in 2006 and their membership has grown to 110. They meet every month from April to December; this year, their kick-off meeting is April 14 at 11:30 a.m. at Fontana Community Church, 275 Kenzie Ave. in Fontana. The theme of the first meeting is "Dig our garden; go green" and will be the Garden Fair kick-off meeting.

The Garden Fair is the club's annual plant sale, which raises funds for scholarships awarded to two deserving high school students who are entering college to study horticulture or the environment. Worthy students will meet the garden club's objectives to preserve the environment and to protect plants and birds in the lakes area.
This year the club will join the Wisconsin Federation of Garden Clubs and with that comes many educational opportunities for the club, with information and speakers from the state of Wisconsin, which will provide workshop and educational programs for gardeners.

The club has several master gardeners and has donated a number of gardening books to the Fontana Public Library. Sharna Ahern, social chair, said that she just joined a year ago, and said that the club is open to anyone with any interest or love of gardening.
For more information about the Fontana Garden Club, call President Gwenn Granquist at (262) 275-5137 or First Vice President Ginny Polkow at (262) 245-6487.

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