For those seeking ideas and information about how to garden in the High Country, a $20 membership to the Summit County Garden Club could be an ideal investment.
The club is now seeking new members; even with 50 in the ranks, they're always looking for more heads to discover better alpine gardening techniques.
"We're always looking for new members because this club is for the enjoyment of gardening. We welcome everyone," member and organizer Beverly Breakstone said.
The focus for the past two decades of the group has been on High Country perennial flower gardening, but the group also donates to the food gardens and organizations promoting vegetable gardening.
The membership includes a garden tour ticket for the club's main event. This year, it's slated for Saturday, July 28, starting at the Summit County Community and Senior Center. This year, participants move on a self-guided vehicle tour of gardens in the southern end of the county. Tickets are $15 on the day of the tour or $10 in advance for non-members.
But the annual garden tour doesn't define the group.
Throughout the summer, garden club members get together to caretake the Breckenridge Alpine Garden, located riverside in Breckenridge, behind Kenosha Steakhouse. The group has also adopted the Dillon Schoolhouse Garden as well as the St. Anthony Summit Medical Center garden. They plant, maintain and clean the beds of each of the gardens.
The group goes together to various events outside the county, as well, such as a July visit to the Yampa River Botanic Park in Steamboat Springs and to pick up Plant Select program plants through the Denver Botanical Gardens. Breakstone said it's an honor to be part of the Plant Select program to help test plants in various environments.
The calendar is also filled out with several educational programs, where experts come to share their knowledge. The goal is to educate as many people as possible about High Country gardening, so members can bring friends to listen in.
"It's a social opportunity. You hang out with people who love to grow things," said Breakstone, who has been a member for about 10 years. "Gals come and bring tools. We weed, trim and beautify the gardens while we shoot the breeze and have a grand time. We usually have about 20 gardeners. It makes quick work and we can get out for coffee earlier."
Members qualify for discounts at the local garden centers, which adds value to the membership. New members are welcomed into the fold on Saturday, June 2 during a 9:30 a.m. work session at the Breckenridge Alpine Garden and potluck welcome lunch following.
The group recently began supporting Summit High School students going to college in a plant-related field - botany, plant biology, landscaping, landscape architecture, for instance. In the two years of the program, preference went to students attending a Colorado school.
That scholarship is boosted by the July Summit County Garden Tour, which last year doubled its attendance by using digital marketing and social media outlets to promote the event.
"It's a tremendous amount of fun. If you love gardening at all, you'll learn so much by being associated with so many guys and gals who garden," Breakstone said. "Being at our elevation it's a very unique experience to get things growing at 9,000 and 10,000 feet elevation."
Learn more and fill out a membership application at www.summitcountygardenclub.org.