How does your garden grow? | SummitDaily.com

How does your garden grow?

Jessica Smith
jsmith@summitdaily.com
Special to the Daily

2013 Garden Tour

Date: July 20

Time: Registration goes from 8:30-11

Cost: Tickets are $10 if purchased in advance, $15 on the day of the event

Location: Registration takes place at the Community & Senior Center, 0083 Nancy’s Place in Frisco

For more information about the Tour or the joining the club, visit www.summitcountygardenclub.org or call Elizabeth Wickert at (970) 453-4778

Trying to grow anything in the High Country can be a frustrating experience, but those with a green thumb and a determined mind will find that they’re not alone. The Summit County Garden Club currently consists of at least 60 members, all of whom share a passion for growing and gardening.

For more than 25 years, the garden club has gathered gardeners together to trade tips, ideas and experiences that come from trying to grow anything from flowers to trees in Summit County.

Shereen Kos moved to Silverthorne from Iowa several years ago. As a frequent visitor of the Colorado mountains, she was under no illusions that gardening would be a different experience in her new location. Even so, she has struggled to keep plants alive that she saw thrive with much less effort back in the Midwest. Fortunately, Kos has her friends at the Summit County Garden Club to give her encouragement and advice.

“I have met so many wonderful people,” she said.

Kos was first introduced to the club by the group’s annual Garden Tour of private and public gardens within Summit County.

“We used to come out specifically from Iowa to do the garden tour,” she said. Once she moved to Summit County, the very next thing she did was join the club. Now, she is the publicity chairman and attends all the meetings, workshops and tours that she can.

Anyone can be a member of the garden club, whether they have a traditional garden or not. Even those who only have patio flowers or no flowers at all are welcome. There’s more to the garden club than just gardening, said club president Elizabeth Wickert. There are artistic programs, field trips and educational events, to name a few. This week, for example, club members gathered to learn how to create living wreaths. Previous gatherings have focused on stepping-stones, birdhouses and hikes to view plants growing wild.

“There’s something for everyone,” Kos said. “People just pick what they can go to. So that’s what’s fun, you can just come when you want and when you can.”

The garden club also maintains several public gardens throughout the county, including the Breckenridge Alpine Garden and the Community and Senior Center Garden in Frisco. The Alpine Garden is also a test site for plants produced by the Plant Select program, a collaboration between Colorado State University and the Denver Botanic Gardens. Wild plants from the western region of the United States, and occasionally as far abroad as Siberia, are developed into plants that will grow in a variety of situations. Test sites plant the seeds and report back to Plant Select on the plants’ progress.

Just as the flowers its members love, the garden club has its on and off seasons. The club is active from May to September or October and then dormant throughout the winter. During the summer season, the Garden Tour is undoubtedly the main event.

The club’s only annual fundraising event, the Garden Tour takes garden-lovers around the county to glimpse local botanical and horticultural achievements.

“It’s the only opportunity people have … of seeing the variety of gardens that are created in Summit County and the time and effort people put into them and how successful they are,” Wickert said.

This year’s tour will focus on gardens in the northern part of the county, including Frisco, Keystone and Silverthorne.

Money raised from the tour goes into local community gardening projects, such as the maintenance of several public gardens, and into a scholarship fund for Summit High School students who plan to continue their education in a plant-related field, such as agriculture, botany or environmental science.

Attendance of the event has risen steadily since it started 23 years ago. Even those who have participated before will find something new.

“Gardens, unless you’re totally fastidious, do not stay the same,” Wickert said. “They evolve, they keep changing and something decides — a tree or a seed or whatever — (to) drop its seeds and you’ll get something shooting up here and a flower over here that you certainly did not plant there. … They’re forever changing, all the time.”

Kos said she’s looking forward to this year’s tour, as well as other upcoming garden club activities and events. Then, of course, there are months ahead to spend in her garden.

“It’s therapy for me,” she said. “I love to be outside and water (my plants). I’d rather be doing that than anything else.”


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