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Passion for all that grows

Barbara Keyes wants to start a West Fargo Garden Club and would like anyone with an interest to get on board.

An organizational meeting to address the formation of such a group has been scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m., in the second floor training room at the West Fargo Public Library, located in the Lodoen Building at 109 3rd St. E.

Those planning on attending are asked to bring a gardening friend, along with their ideas and join in the discussion.

Keyes and her husband, Jack, moved to West Fargo recently from Minot, N.D. to be a little bit closer to family which includes two sisters in Minnesota and a brother in Horace.

She is no newcomer to gardening clubs having served as a member for several years and president for two years of a Minot club - the Northwest Association of Horticulture (NoAH) - whose membership grew and flourished under her chairmanship and continues to thrive having marked its 25-year milestone.

Keyes admits a passion for both vegetable and flower gardening that was instilled in her early on by her mentoring mother. Growing up on the family farm at Warren, Minn., she remembers the huge garden the family lived off of over the winter. "My mother put me in charge of weeding carrots because I had the patience," Keyes chuckled.

While involved with the Minot club, Keyes discovered the importance of incorporating community service into the group's role, with club members pitching in with flower planting beautification efforts to make the community a prettier place in which to live; as well as conducting a plant auction with proceeds going to scholarship funds.

The club was also visited by different speakers each month, elected offices and created a brochure promoting their endeavor.

After moving to West Fargo, Keyes discovered there was no gardening club and thinks with all the community growth, the timing is appropriate and there is a definite need. "Gardening in the number one hobby in the U.S. so there are a lot of people with an interest. West Fargo is the fast growing city in the state and doesn't have a garden club."

Keyes brings a lot to the table in terms of ideas and past experience, and she is hoping to share some of that zeal in bringing a West Fargo group to fruition.

"People in garden clubs are always wonderfully nice people. I would encourage anyone with any interest in gardening, it doesn't matter if its vegetables or flower, to attend the meeting."

Both men and women are welcome.

She said it will be an excellent opportunity to share ideas as a starting point to figure out what people want and what direction they want to go including arriving at a name for the club.

She also welcomes people in apartment buildings who plant their gardens in pot. "It takes all kinds to make these things work," Keyes said.

"If someone is a gardener find another one and bring them along. We'll throw out ideas, and suggestions, and do a lot of listening to what everyone has to say."