The Scarborough Garden Club at the Hunnewell House on Black Point Road. The club will hold a plant sale on June 5. Courtesy photo June McClean

SCARBOROUGH — While not every member of the Scarborough Garden Club is a master gardener, the group’s participants all have a love for nature, flowers and having fun with friends.

Founded in 1975, the club now has over 50 members, June McClean, president, said. The group meets monthly, from September through June, inviting speakers to discuss various horticultural subjects like biodynamic gardening as well as gardening for birds or other wildlife.

“I think another thing we enjoy doing is the community service,” McClean said. “The Pine Point nursing center in Scarborough, we buy flowers and bring them there and help the residents arrange them. We do that once a month. We make monetary donations to various civic organizations. We make holiday wreaths for the Scarborough Library and the Scarborough Historical Society.”

The garden club is working on a period project at the Hunnewell House, the oldest house in Scarborough, she said.

“Next to the house is a raised bed garden, and this year we’re going to plant it with period-appropriate plants,” McClean said. “We have to figure out what a family living in Scarborough 300 years ago would grow in their garden next to their house.”

Members organize nature walks through the summer, she said. The group loves to share a passion for the outdoors.

“I joined because it’s so much fun to share your interests with friends and other people who share the same interests,” McClean said. “We have such good conversations and we can learn from each other. For example, our hiking group isn’t specifically gardening, but it is nature and the outdoors and I think we all love nature and that’s why we do it. It’s so enjoyable to do it with friends.”

Longtime member and former president Elaine Toher said she has seen the club’s projects change over the years, but the foundation for the club remains the same.

Toher gave the Scarborough Garden Club its motto: “flowers, friendship and fun,” McClean said.

“It’s the greatest group of women and men,” Toher said. “We all love flowers. We all love planting, and we just seem to click, every one of us. and I’ve made the best friends in that club. They’re my best friends.”

Original members from the club’s foundation in 1975 still participate today, she said.

“The club was founded in 1975 and we actually still have a few members left from that original time,” Toher said. “They gathered around the Hunnewell House because it was falling to wreck and ruin. There was a big effort in the town to raise money to restore the house. Children were saving pennies, and the garden club went in and built the flowers and flower beds. The town maintains the grounds, but we take care of the flower beds. We meet about four to five times a year in the morning and go down to clean.”

The club’s annual plant sale, its biggest fundraising event, will be taking place on June 5 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Hunnewell House on 81 Black Point Road, Linda Hausler, member, said.

People enjoy purchasing plants grown in Scarborough, accustomed to Scarborough soil, she said.

“Not only do we learn a lot in our meetings and have that camaraderie where we exchange our ideas and thoughts, but that’s what is offered at our plant sale also,” she said. “People come in and they have a whole host of questions.”

Hausler said she joined the club after retiring about three years ago.

“What I enjoy about gardening is mostly the nurturing part of it and seeing how things grow,” she said. “I think after your children grow up and move away you still have that desire to take care of things, and that’s what I love the most. This is the best time of year because not only is it fun to see everything blooming, but you get to see what’s coming up from your labors last summer, last fall, what you planted, whether it’s going to make it, how well it’s doing, whether it’s got the right soil, whether it’s get the right light. There’s a whole lot to it. It’s stimulating and it’s physical exercise, and it fulfills that nurturing need I seem to have.”

Those who are curious about joining the club are encouraged to attend a meeting, Toher said.

“I have spoken to people who have had an interest in joining and they’re kind of shy about it because they think, ‘Well, I only have a little plot by my house,’ or, ‘I am just not confident,'” she said. “I always encourage them to come because we’re all in different stages of gardening. Some of us have gardened our brains out and are winding down, and some are just starting up. But we all share this love of gardening. So anybody is welcome. As long as you like flowers and gardening, you will enjoy this club.”

The group meets on Zoom but will meet in-person on June 21 for an end-of-the-season picnic, McClean said. People should let McClean know they want to attend through the “contact” page at scarboroughgardenclub.weebly.com.

“We don’t have a guest speaker for the picnic,” McClean said. “We just have fun. They can come and meet us, and of course in September, just come to a meeting. Just show up.”

A list of meeting times are available at the garden club’s website at http://scarboroughgardenclub.weebly.com/. People who want to become a member can also fill out the “contact” page on the website, and McClean will send them an application through email, she said.

McClean said members don’t need to live in Scarborough. The club has people from South Portland, Cape Elizabeth, Westbrook and Old Orchard Beach.

“You don’t even have to be an active gardener,” she said. “Some of our members aren’t actively gardening anymore, but they come for the friendship and the interesting programs.”

Toher added, “There are a lot of people living in condominiums and apartments in Scarborough now, and we would love to have them come. We can find some gardening for them.”

The Scarborough Garden Club is a member of the Garden Club Federation of Maine, New England Garden Clubs and National Garden Clubs Inc., according to the website.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: