The Harbor Springs Garden Club has been keeping town in blooms since 1976.
It all began with a conversation between two friends, Jo Ford and Kathy Trumble, while perched on stools at Rosenthal’s (a favorite Main Street Harbor Springs establishment no longer in business). Ford expressed a desire to create a local group to help with the planting of window boxes for area businesses and buildings. The idea grew, and so did their mission, with gardens sprinkled about town. Over the years, dedicated gardens have popped up in various locations and flowers bloom and are weeded by the green thumbed members of the Harbor Springs Garden Club (HSGC). Today the HSGC has almost 100 members planting and maintaining 14 gardens throughout the city. Over 3000 flowers were planted this spring, which will be replaced by hundreds of mums this fall.
Their work can be seen along the waterfront, in the flowers that grace City Hall, the Chamber of Commerce, Tuttle Corner, East Hill, the Fire Station, the city marina, and various other gardens and planters throughout downtown.
It takes a lot of volunteers to create and care for these gardens.
“Each garden has a ‘garden captain’ who is responsible for the overall garden design and the type of flowers ordered and planted,” Ginny Heinritzi, HSGC president said.“Upwards of 10 volunteers work with the garden captain to plant and maintain the garden throughout the season. After years of experience, the captain and volunteers learn which flowers work well and which do not. It is a collaborative effort. Last year our members donated at least 1200 volunteer hours.”
The HSGC offers classes and seminars that range from creative flower arranging workshops to informative lectures on how to maintain water quality by monitoring or eliminating fertilizer use and creating rain gardens.
“In support of this effort, we conducted extensive soil tests in conjunction with Michigan State University Cooperative Extension for every garden we support,” Heinritzi said. “This allowed us to match the exact nutritional needs of each garden and avoid using unnecessary products that could potentially pollute the harbor.”
Weather and other natural challenges are part of every season. Waterfowl and deer are keeping them busy this year.
“The challenges are never ending,” Heinritzi said. “For the last couple of years, the ducks and geese have been bedding down in the Memorial Garden at the waterfront and grazing on the flowers. Deer are always a challenge and we try to plant flowers that are less attractive to them. Although this year, they have enjoyed the hydrangea bushes in front of City Hall on Zoll St.”
The Harbor Springs Garden Club is a 501c-3 nonprofit organization. They are appreciative of all the local businesses who continue to offer support in both time and donations.
This year has been challenging as so many people have had to turn to their own concerns during these uncertain times. The Harbor Springs Garden Club is asking that people keep them in mind, as they survive solely on donations from community members and businesses. “Donations are our only source of funding,” Heinritzi said. “We solicit for donations once a year and operate our organization using those donations.”
These donations allow them to budget and pay for everything from the flowers to the fertilizer and all the gardening needs in between. The HSGC goes to great lengths to keep the city popping with color. And they strive to remain “flexible and nimble enough to serve the needs of our community”. Volunteers are always welcome and donations may be sent in the name of the Harbor Springs Garden Club, P.O. Box 201, Harbor Springs, MI 49740. Or, contact Ginny Heinritzi, email@example.com