Annual geranium fundraiser is back

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By Caitlin Taylor
The Mason Times

With the onset of spring, the Mason Sycamore Creek Garden Club annual geranium sale fundraiser is back, and the club will be taking orders until April 21.

Keeping with tradition, the club will have 12-inch bush pots, hanging baskets and 4-inch small pots, according to Barb Ketchum, club president. The bush pots are comparable to big pots for moving the flowers into planters, she said, and the hanging baskets come fully bloomed.

A new addition this year are two different 4-inch pot bowls. One is a mixture of herbs, while the other is a succulent bowl. According to Ketchum, bush pots and hanging baskets cost $14.75, the 4-inch geranium bowl is $3.75, the herbs bowl is $12 and the succulent bowl is $22. All must be purchased through pre-order.

Orders should arrive mid-May, depending upon the weather, she said.

“I think that the community looks forward to the fundraiser because the plants are big and healthy,” Ketchum said, “It is something that they can count on to look good and put in their gardens immediately.”

The geranium sale is the club’s only formal fundraiser for the year, said Brenda Hershberger, club co-founder and treasurer. It has been a Mason tradition since about 2010. Throughout that time, the club has paired with the same geranium grower each year and has acquired notable repeat customers throughout the community.

“The purpose of the fundraiser is to support our club to take care of its projects,” Ketchum said. “We take care of the Historical Society, Rayner Park and an area of the cemetery.”

This year, the Mason Sycamore Creek Garden Club is specifically responsible for the Blue Star Memorial in Rayner Park, areas at the Veterans’ Memorial in the Maple Grove Cemetery, the gardens around the Historical Society and the Pink School, according to Hershberger. For every assignment, the club must purchase soil, plants and other plant materials.

Also, the club has a contract with the Downtown District Authority to plant throughout downtown Mason before the Memorial Day parades.

“For the DDA planting downtown, when the plants are delivered, a date for planting is set, usually about three weeks into May, before Memorial Day parades,” Ketchum said. “Usually, we divide plants and pots in the early afternoon among the members, and we plant during the late afternoon or early evening so that everyone can be involved to plant.”

After all of the plants are in the ground, the Mason Boy Scout troop takes responsibility for upkeep and watering of the plants.

“The troop is in charge of watching the weather to decide when we need to water,” said Ray Rustem, scoutmaster of Troop 763. “Then we put a tank on a trailer and go around and water for 30-45 minutes.”

Any remaining funds from the geranium sale often contribute to funding guest speakers, field trips and materials for crafts, Hershberger said. Speakers, trips and crafts are all activities that the club likes to organize when the weather does not favor outdoor gardening.

“We try to have a variety of activities and projects for people who have different interests in gardening,” Ketchum said. “We might do a vegetable garden one time and gardening for wildlife another time. We also do talks about environmental issues, tour other local gardens, including commercial gardens, and we like to support local businesses.”

Rain or shine, cold weather or hot, the Mason Sycamore Creek Garden Club holds meetings on the first Tuesday of every month at the Mason Historical Society on Oak Street. They are always accepting new members, especially younger members.

According to Hershberger, most of the club’s members have full-time jobs or are retired, living in Mason, Leslie and Dansville. She is hoping to see the club’s membership branch out in the future, appealing to younger demographics.

“We have struggled with publicity in the local community,” Hershberger said. “I am not social media savvy, so getting the message out about what is going on in the community can be difficult.”

With the current trend in growing and enjoying local produce as well as the community gardening trend, Hershberger has no doubt that the Mason Sycamore Creek Garden Club will begin to transform and continue to grow.

To place a geranium order or for more information about the Mason Sycamore Creek Garden Club, email Barb Ketchum, club president, at: gardenclubofmason@gmail.com.

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