Garden Club supports new branch, sustains original roots
Shrewsbury – More than 50 years ago, in the early days of its existence, the Shrewsbury Garden Club provided counsel to town officials on how to best landscape the town common. That’s according to the club’s current Vice President Gail Aslanian, who noted the Common is still decorated through the club’s influence. The organization’s effect was especially apparent during this year’s annual Spirit of Shrewsbury fall festival. A flock of scarecrows adorned the center then as part of the Garden Club’s sixth yearly contest, which encourages individuals, families and town groups to create their own hay masterpiece for judgment.
Aslanian joined the Garden Club nearly seven years ago. She’s enjoyed participating in the entity’s traditional activities as well as having a role in the club’s new endeavors. The former art teacher first lent the club her knack for making things beautiful in 2004. That year she helped construct the club’s papier-mÃ¢chÃ© pig entry into the Central Massachusetts Flower Show, an entry that took first prize. Now, she’s instrumental in the club’s support of the Shrewsbury Fragrant Garden, Inc., a nonprofit organization that was established as an off shoot of the Shrewsbury Garden Club.
The Shrewsbury Fragrant Garden aims to construct and maintain a public garden that will benefit people who are blind and visually impaired. Arrangements have been made for it to blossom on the grounds of Veterans, Inc. on South Street in Shrewsbury. The partnership will off er residents of the veterans’ facility a place to practice horticultural therapy while also providing a tactile and sensory experience for people with visual challenges. A fundraiser for the project is being planned for Saturday, November 20 at Veteran’s Inc.
Besides supporting new ventures, the Shrewsbury Garden Club carries out several annual projects. Some of these include their adopt-a-plot program aimed a beautifying areas around town, a plant sale, sponsorship of the “Light the Spirit” jack-o-lantern display during the Spirit of Shrewsbury and running a Scholarship Tea.
Having grown up on four acres of land in Michigan, Aslanian always loved being outside. When she was teaching, she didn’t have much time for digging in dirt. But since retiring, the Garden Club has energized her to get things growing on her own property.
“I’ve been learning from the Garden Club,” she said, “We have programs every month, so when the speakers come, it inspires you to do something. We re-landscaped the backyard this summer. My yard was pretty rugged in the beginning and it’s just now starting to get defined a little bit.”
Aslanian said the presentations during their monthly meetings from September through June teach diff erent aspects of horticulture. Although horticulture has long been a club focus, she added, in recent years the club has become more community centered and has done community outreach.
Having become a Garden Club member when she was a relative newcomer to town, Aslanian said she’s made many close friends through her participation. She’s progressively taken on more responsibility and is slated to become the club’s president in July 2011.
“I think the camaraderie and the sharing of ideas with the other gardeners has been really nice,” Aslanian said. “Working with people that have like interests and common goals, you really can accomplish a lot. They’re hard-working women and it’s been very pleasurable to work with them.”
For more information about the Shrewsbury Garden Club, visit http://maclubs.esiteasp. com/shrewsburygardenclub/ home.nxg. For details on the Shrewsbury Fragrant Garden, Inc., visit www.theshrewsburyfragrantgarden. org.
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