NEW ULM - The New Ulm Garden Club welcomes all gardeners to its club no matter what their level of experience.
"Everybody's welcome to be part of the Garden Club. We welcome anybody who is interested in gardening - novice or experienced," said Nancy Ginkel, a lifelong New Ulm resident who is serving as this year's club president, "It's a nice group of people."
Ginkel said the New Ulm Garden Club is a "great place to meet some friends." She estimated that the club has been in existence since the 1970s.
Photos by Steve Muscatello
Pictured is Jan McClellan’s garden path.
A frog-inspired area of Jan McClellan’s gardens
Pictured at right is a front yard garden at Dave & Jan McClellan’s home in New Ulm.
Pictured at left is a waterfall fountain with a fish pond which is the focal point of Leanna Windschitl’s garden in New Ulm.
"If you join the Garden Club, you could meet a friend for life," said Ginkel.
About 55 members of the club meet at 7 p.m. at the New Ulm Airport every first Wednesday of the month from January to May, Ginkel said.
"My goal this year is to have fun and to help the members get to know each other," Ginkel said.
If You Go:
What: New Ulm Garden Club's
"Gardenfest Tour" Fundraiser
When: 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Saturday, June 20
Tickets are available for $5 each at CashWise, Edelweiss, and Hy-Vee and directions to the featured
gardens will be provided.
Ginkel encourages a free range of questions and answers from all participants.
"The whole point of this is to have fun - life is too short not to have fun," said Ginkel.
People can always come and check out a meeting to see if they would like to join the club.
An annual fund-raiser for the club is the "Gardenfest" tour of gardens. Five local gardens are featured this year.
"We like people to see the range of gardening," said Ginkel, "You can learn something from any garden or gardener. We don't want anybody to feel they're being judged."
One of the featured gardens this year has an 80-foot pond with koi. Another garden has a pondless waterfall.
Only one of the five gardeners is a member of the New Ulm Garden Club. The other gardeners on the tour are local people who have accepted invitations after the word of their outstanding gardens was brought to the club's attention.
"Some people are shy ... but they're the expert on their garden because they've been growing it," said Ginkel.
The Gardenfest tour has been held now for at least two decades, said Ginkel.
The tour annually attracts 150-200 people.
"That's a good number we feel. We really want people to leisurely tour the gardens and hopefully take something away ... but not the plants," Ginkel said with a laugh, "These gardens are real interesting - you have to take the time to look ... to savor and enjoy and to take it all in."
The homeowners also enjoy the tour because it is nice to have people appreciate their hard work, garden plans and designs, said Ginkel.
"It's a win-win," Ginkel said.
The New Ulm Garden Club has an annual plant exchange. The club raised about $500 this spring, Ginkel said.
The club also is responsible for taking care of the area around four buildings at the Brown County Fairgrounds.
"They're looking good," said Ginkel.
Ginkel said she comes from long line of gardeners and quilters.
Her maternal grandmother and also her mother gardened and quilted. Ginkel said she is very passionate about pursuing these hobbies now.
She has been a serious gardener for the last nine years.
"A good gardener always carries a trowel and gloves in case the opportunity presents itself," Ginkel said, "Gardeners share things ... they'll take a hunk off anything for you."
Ginkel plans to have her garden on the Gardenfest tour next year. Her husband John has been supportive of her gardening hobby.
"Little by little ... every year we have a project (at her home). It doesn't cost a lot of money to be creative ... it's trial and error - some things work, some don't. You find your conditions and work with those conditions," said Ginkel.