Poulsbo Garden Club digs and grows

POULSBO — For Lynette Gillespie and the members of the Poulsbo Garden Club, digging in the dirt is a grand time.

And they want to share the joy.

A club that cultivates friendships among its members as much as it does bountiful gardens, the Poulsbo Garden Club is once again preparing to hand out helpful funding for other would-be green-thumbed groups in the area, including local schools, girl, boy and Eagle Scout groups and nursing home facilities.

“We decided that we needed to give back to the community,” said Gillespie, the club’s president and one of its founding members.

And this isn’t the Poulsbo Garden Club’s first venture into community service. Many of its members have offered helping and able hands around Little Norway, including in gardens at Raab Park and in the heart of downtown.

After reaping the continued success of the club’s spring plant sale, Gillespie said they decided it was time to sow an investment back into their surroundings. Now, the group grants an average of $1,500 a year to help provide tools and other planting materials for those with a need, making possible their pursuance of a horticultural education and helping to enhance the area’s civic beauty.

The group will distribute this year’s funds next month.

Gillespie started the club a decade ago with two others, including friend and master gardener Constance Gooding. The first meeting had only one other attendee, but over time the club has blossomed to boast more than 50 members.

The group now meets each month, sometimes in the lower level of the Poulsbo Library, and sometimes on location depending on the day’s activity. In the past, they have traveled to Portland’s Rose Gardens and the lavender farms in Sequim. The group also brings in guest speakers on a variety of topics. This month, presenters talked about growing and cooking with herbs.

“We have a lot to offer to a lot of different women,” Gillespie said. “We like to try to offer something to everyone who’s in the club.”

Gillespie said bonds have been forged over not just gardening, but all different kinds of hobbies and interests. For many members, even those no longer with the club, the group served as a starting place for true, lifelong camaraderie.

“The reason that we wanted to do it is because we loved gardening and we wanted to share plants with each other,” Gillespie said. “There’s so many talented women that have gotten together.”

She said even this time of year there is much to be done for the garden, including collecting seeds, planting cole crops and composting.

Looking back on the club’s first decade, Gillespie said she’s proud it has been such a positive addition to so many people’s lives. Members stemming from Hansville to Seabeck have enjoyed its activities.

But when it comes down to it, Gillespie said it all comes back to digging in the dirt.

“It’s good physical labor,” she said of gardening with a laugh. “There’s so much life in your garden, it’s really a neat thing.”

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