O'Fallon Progress

O'Fallon Garden Club hopes new pavilion will bloom youths' interest in Mother Nature

A drawing of the new pavilion.
A drawing of the new pavilion. Provided

With their dedication to community beautification and enthusiasm for gardening, the O’Fallon Garden Club has been a significant contributor to the quality of life in O’Fallon. Now, they’re expanding to increase educational efforts.

Members announced a new initiative to raise funds for an Educational Pavilion during a recent city council meeting.

Mayor Herb Roach also presented the Garden Club with a proclamation, thanking them for all they do “to beautify, educate as well as feed our community.”

President Kimberly Atkins said the new pavilion is planned for the State Street Garden, which is a community garden that has a butterfly garden, perennial beds and garden plots. Members share vegetables with the local food pantry and tend to the flower beds. Some members tend to the apiary, their collection of three honey-producing beehives.

“We have the perfect spot for it. We can’t do it without the support of the community,” Atkins said. “We’re not in this for ourselves. We’re giving this to the community.”

The all-volunteer club has 96 members, including 23 Master Gardeners. Atkins said they love beautifying the community.

“Being dirty, hot and muddy brings us enjoyment. We love doing it. We provide beauty and things for people,” she said.

The club has been working with District 90 for years on an education component. Students learn about the environment, and not just in the classroom, Atkins said. They are shaping the next generation of gardeners.

Students and veterans will benefit from a therapy garden to be located near the pavilion.

The club’s pavilion committee plans to meet on Wednesday, March 28, to develop fundraising plan and to select a builder. Charlie Pitts is the project manager.

One event is already planned: Michele Taylor is hosting a Yoga in the Park/ Earth Day celebration on April 22 from 1 to 2 p.m. at the O’Fallon Sports Park splash pad area.

Taylor, an ERYT-200/RYT500 and Baptieste Yoga Tier 2 certified yoga instructor, will lead the class, and said it will be suitable for all levels, even beginners and older children. She said donate what you can for the class and all proceeds will benefit the Pavilion at the Garden. Bring water and a yoga mat.

Anyone wishing to donate to the pavilion can contact Atkins at the following e-mail address: info@ofallongardenclub.com

The club has many activities. It designs and plants the flower beds in the State Street roundabout, tends to the daffodils at the Veteran’s Monument, is working on an expanded garden on Taylor Road, holds plant sales in fall and spring, and gives back to the community. Last year, they donated 4,500 pounds of vegetables to the local food pantry, and during the past four years, has donated more than 10,000 pounds in total.

The group, which was founded in 2010, meets once a month and dues are $20 per year. The club is a member of the Garden Clubs of Illinois and the National Garden Club.

Donations for support of the O'Fallon Garden Club may be made to the O'Fallon Garden Club, C/O the O'Fallon Parks and Recreation, 255 S. Lincoln, O'Fallon, IL 62269. Donations are tax deductible.

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