Garden Club plans for fall 2016

Emmie Poth-Nebel


“Last year Garden Club only had three or four members,” said Thomas Russell, president of Decatur’s own Garden Club. “Now we are almost up to 10 consistent members.”

The club, now in it’s fifth official year, maintains a small plot of land near the Fraiser Center after losing its former location to parking lot expansion.

Russell believes the rise in attendance is due to a variety of factors.

“People are probably drawn to the club because gardening is fun. To be honest, I think some people joined because they like Dr. Unwin or they like food we provide. We also play games and that’s fun,” he said. “As for myself, even though I’m not actually that good at gardening, I enjoy doing it.”

In addition to an increase in membership, this year’s members elected Thalia Garoufalidis as the general advisor, in charge of recording events and meetings as well as planning for the club’s future, and Ayla McGinnis as “outreacher,” in charge of faculty/administration relations.

“Both are qualified officers,” Russell said. “Ayla is also my nature specialist. She’s had a garden since she was little and is skilled with the ways of plants and planting.

Biology teacher and Garden Club sponsor Dr. Matthew Unwin said the club made major changes such as multiple officers made for a “bit more structure”, since 2014.

“I was asked to help with the club last year,” he said. “Garden Club’s always been a little ‘free-spirited’, so we might see a little more cohesiveness and stuff getting done. It’s just becoming more of a traditional Decatur club.”

To pay for future endeavors, Russell plans to hold a fundraiser for the club later this month.

“The money from that fundraiser will be put towards new plants in the garden and a few cool fruit trees if we can. I also want to make shirts for everyone,” he said.

Unwin hopes to up school-wide appreciation for the club.

“I don’t think a lot of people realize how important plants are for us,” he said. “From our ecology to daily lives, from food to medicine, it all comes from plants. Plants are just really neat organisms.”

In addition, he’d like to increase the amount of time members get in the garden.

“I’d like to have a spring planting workshop with Trees Atlanta in the Decatur Pollinator Garden. That’ll be a big thing when the weather gets nicer,” he said. “We also want to paint and repair the garden shed, try to give it a little more school spirit. We also might add rain barrels [to the side of the shed] so we have our own source of water.”

Along with the practical, he hopes to come up with some “not so much hard work, fun activities” like trips to the Atlanta Botanical Garden and smaller gardens in Decatur.

His favorite aspect of the club?

“The plants, although the students rank pretty high, too. Just kidding. Students and plants together, pretty awesome.”