By Marylyn Haspell, The Island Connection Staff Writer
“I hate to touch dirt,” says Dorothy Farfone. That may at first seem an odd statement from an enthusiastic and active member of Seabrook Island’s Garden Club. But it’s not unusual.
The club, a vital part of the Seabrook community, is entering its 27th year with a varied range of programs and activities that are as diverse as its membership. The mix is working: the Garden Club is the largest organization on Seabrook, with a membership roster of 110 and growing.
The Seabrook Island Garden Club had humble beginnings: it began in the spring of 1988 with a group of 18 enthusiastic gardeners. Confronted with extensive damage from 1989’s Hurricane Hugo in the club’s second year, members pitched in to help. After the clean-up, the programs were expanded and membership grew. The club, of course, is rooted in horticulture. But it’s not just that.
“The focus is on education, how to deal with one’s own backyard, the environment and philanthropy, with educational and holiday events, field trips and community minded functions that play to everyone’s strengths,” says Carol Miller, president. Monthly meetings incorporate speakers and topics of varied interest.
The committees structured within the club support a wide variety of topics and interests including wildflower gardening, holiday decorating, special projects, programming, field trips and educational events, as well as the much anticipated holiday open house the first Sunday in December, which has been held every year since 1993.
Programs for the 2014-2015 season include lectures by Jim Martin, the horticulturist and educator, Jinx Farmer nursery and farm owner and author of “Deep Rooted Wisdom” and Joan McDonald, Garden Editor of the Post and Courier. Luncheons and field trips are also being planned.
The club is deeply committed to philanthropic endeavors that give back to the community. Every year, the club awards a scholarship to one student at Trident Technical School enrolled in the Horticulture Technology Associate degree program, Landscape Maintenance, Landscape Design or Golf Course Maintenance Certificate program. The club is also actively involved in the development of children’s gardens at local schools, beautifying Sea Island Habitat for Humanity Houses with trees, and donating gardening books to the Johns Island Library.
But more than anything, says Miller, Seabrook Garden Club is a great way to meet new people, and that’s done by making it easy for people to attend and participate.
“You don’t have to register,” says Miller. “You can join or pick and choose what you want to attend.” And the Club’s reach extends beyond Seabrook. You don’t have to live in Seabrook to be a member or participant.
Garden Club Meetings are held on the second Friday of every month at 9:30 a.m. in the Lake House on Seabrook Island.