Public invited to find out more about the club and about forming a new club

In celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Delaware Federation of Garden Clubs, the state federation and Middletown-Odessa Garden Club are hosting a community meeting Monday, May 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the Corbit-Calloway Memorial Library, 115 High St., Odessa.

The purpose of this meeting is to let the community know more about the local club and to offer an opportunity to form a new club in the area, said Betty Kramarck, president of the Middletown-Odessa Garden Club.

“The M.O.T. area has been growing by leaps and bounds for many years. We, along with the Delaware Federation of Garden Clubs, feel the area is ripe for a new club or two,” said Kramarck. “We have had inquiries about starting an evening club which I think would be great. A youth garden club is also a possibility. At the meeting, we are hoping people interested in meeting others who share their love of gardening and want to learn more about plants and flower arranging will come out and want to start a new club or want to join ours.”

Kramarck answered questions from the Middletown Transcript about the club.

How many members are in the Middletown-Odessa Garden Club?

We have 33 members and are always welcome to more. Though we are mostly women we do have gentlemen members and would love to have more interested men join.

What types of activities do you offer?

We are very active in the community. We started the first Seed Library in the state several years ago at the Corbit-Calloway Memorial Library. We solicit seed donations from the big seed companies, repackage them into smaller envelopes and offer them to the public for free during the spring and summer. Word of mouth has spread about our endeavor and it has become quite popular.

We have tended the garden in Cochran Square for many years and two years ago completely revamped it to make a pollinator garden with perennial and annual plants attractive to bees and butterflies. Last fall we planted tulips and daffodils, making for a very attractive spring display.

We create container plantings for the Pocket Park in Middletown between the Gibby and the Everett. We had tulips and daffodils for the spring, annual plantings over the summer and in the fall/winter we move those pots out and put in larger pots with cuttings of greens for a seasonal display.

We have made 200 bows for the Cochran Square Christmas tree for over 20 years.

We tend the Corbit-Sharp Garden in Odessa which is part of the Historic Odessa Foundation. The present garden was originally designed by one of our members.

We maintain two planters at the front of the Corbit-Calloway Memorial Library with seasonal plantings.

We hold a "Crop Swap" in the summer at the library every other Monday evening from 6:30-7:30 starting July 9. The community is welcome to come and share the extra garden bounty or any other garden related items they have to swap. This has been a very successful venture.

For Christmas in Odessa, we make decorated wreaths and other seasonal displays for the Historic Odessa Foundation houses. We offer a Colonial Greens Workshop the day of CIO in the Warner Barn, creating and demonstrating seasonal arrangements which are sold to benefit the CIO Scholarship Fund, and members help as tour docents for the open houses.

We have an active Styrofoam collection recycling project which we started even before the DSWA was collecting it, and we collect items for Faithful Friends Animal Society.

We fund two 4-H scholarships for youth to attend summer camp and fund tuition for children to attend programs at the Delaware Nature Society.

We usually have at least one trip a year to places like Mt Cuba, Chanticleer, May Day in Annapolis, Christmas at Winterthur or Longwood or maybe an exceptional garden center. This June we are touring the Botanical Gardens of the University of Delaware.

Can you talk about the range of gardening experience of people in the club?

We have members that have been in the club for over 35 years and are very knowledgeable as well as those who have only been in a year or two. Some have had floral or gardening businesses. We have several Master Gardeners, a National Garden Clubs Master Flower Show Judge, several NGC Gardening Consultants and NGC Environmental Consultants. We have members who are completely new to gardening as well as some who are new to the area who live in the local 55 or older communities looking to learn the type of plants that thrive here. And of course we have those that know gardening and just want to learn more.

What are two or three things you enjoy most about the club?

I love working on the community projects with people that love gardening as much as I do. I love when someone has a question about a plant or a gardening problem, someone in the club can usually answer it or tell you how to solve it. I love hearing the speakers and learning something new.

As a member of MOGC and DFGC we are also members of the National Garden Clubs organization. They offer four schools: Flower Show Judging, Gardening Studies, Environmental Studies and Landscape Design. These are wonderful to attend to expand your gardening knowledge.