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Horticultural society planting seeds with its Junior Garden Club

The Elmira and District Horticultural Society is searching for young people looking to learn a little bit more and develop their green thumbs.

Irene Dickau runs the Junior Garden Club, and she says the members always learn plenty throughout the planting and harvesting season.

“We help them, but it is all about learning for them,” she said. “This year we want the kids to learn that plants have been around for a long time and they are very useful even if you think they are not. That will be by emphasis.”

This year’s theme for this year is pollinators, nuisance weeds and Canada 150.

“We always do pollinators, and this year, we are going to talk about things like dandelions, which can be a nuisance, but were actually used by Native people. We picked weeds that are common, that the kids can recognize and make a connection with,” said Dickau. “Our third theme is Canada 150, and for that, the flowers we grow this year will be red and white. We wanted something that would grow quickly, and would stay true to colour. It will be begonias and I have already started seeding little red and white button zinnias.”

The club starts up on May 10, meeting every Wednesday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and is open to young gardeners age seven to 10. Each child gets their own garden plot where they will grow their flowers and like every year, vegetables for their annual salad supper.

“We make the salad from what they grow,” said Dickau. “They grow lettuce and spinach usually, and we bring everything together, we do the washing, put it in the salad spinner, and some of the kids tear up the lettuce, and then they will eat it.”

In past years, club members have been treated to educational visits from local experts, something Dickau says she hopes she can continue to do this year.

“We have had a local beekeeper come by and did stuff with the kids in the gardens and we did that during the day time when the bees are out, so they could see the bees at work, then my daughter, she is into botany, she came in to talk to the club about domesticating corn from way, way back,” she explained.

This year’s gardeners could be in for a treat that has been a long time coming.

“Three years ago, we had these little seedlings that Barb had gotten of milkweed because we were trying to attract the monarch butterflies. They haven’t bloomed yet, but hopefully this year, they will bloom for us,” said Dickau.

The club has already got five members signed up and ready for May 11, but they are hoping for ten in total.

To register for the club, call Dickau at 519-669-3244, or Sue Neufeld at 519-664-3388. Registration is $15 for the whole gardening season.

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