2017 SDGC Member Garden Award goes to…….

Sandy Gelman and Derek McAleer


A note from Sandy:

To the Garden Club Members, Thank you so much for bestowing the Garden Club Member Garden Award to us.  I was stunned, in shock, overwhelmed and honored all at the same time.  And, thank you for including my husband, Derek!

This summer has been a treasured healthy summer, allowing us to stay at home, and enjoy gardening for the entire summer.  What a blessing! We have had much work to do this summer, to get the gardens in shape after several summers with less time for gardening, and more time for health healing.   But as you know, gardening is healing, and when we are gardening, we get lost in time.  What a JOY!

Please enjoy these photos from Sandy and Derek’s gardens:








Before and during…….Our neighbor Kate, named the main garden “Tomato Alley”.  Over 100 tomato plants, planted in over 30 half whiskey barrels.






Over 15 varieties planted.  These all transitioned to oven dried, sauced, zip lock frozen, BLT’s, salsa, gazpacho, etc.









This old milk bucket is from my dad.  White flowers are pouring out of it.

SDGC 2017 Scholarship Winners


Katherine Huffman has been accepted to Indiana University.  Her plans are Business with a focus on environmental aspects. She is passionate about the environment even though she admits to not having a green thumb.

Kit has been on the Cross Country , Track & Field and Indoor Track Teams all four years of high school. For Cross country she was the Team Captain, and earned Academic All-State, All-conference, All-Regional, and All-County recognition. She also was Team Captain for the Track & Field Team as well as earning Academic All-State, Conference Champion , Regional Champion and 2nd at State recognition.

Other involvement : National Honor society 10th – 12th grade, Summer running Club (9th-12th grade) Team Captain, Michigan Youth in Government (9th-12th grade), Band (9th & 10th grade), Student Council in 10th grade, Interact Club (9th – 12th grade and served as Secretary & President), Model United Nations (10th – 12th grade)

She had maintained a 4.01 GPA doing all that as well as working as a babysitter, a waitress and party hostess at BAM Entertainment Center, front desk at the Maplewood hotel, and washing cars. Kit also began in January of 2016 averaging 15 hours a week of being self-employed by offering guided hiking tours.

Our Fennville Garden Club Scholarship for Fennville was awarded to Vanessa Iridian Martinez.

Vanessa has been accepted to Grand Valley State, Kendall College of Art and Design and Calvin College, she has yet to make her choice.

Vanessa is a member of the National Honor Society and the National Art Honor Society.

She will be majoring in drawing or illustration and or majoring in biological science or biology. Art and Science have always been subjects of interest to her. She is interested in becoming a pediatric dental hygienist.

She is fluent in Spanish and English. Vanessa was on the honor roll all four years of high school. She received 3rd place freshman year and first place her senior year at the Fennville Goose Festival Art Show. Vanessa was also in the Michigan Youth Art Festival at WMU – Top 100.

Saugatuck Community Pride Day – 2017



Each year Saugatuck sixth graders assist the garden club with their efforts to beautify the city. Planters are placed along the city sidewalks, then the students join the garden club members in planting lovely flowers. This project fosters a sense of pride in the community from our young people and teaches them how they can make a difference.

Based on the number of volunteers who sign up, the teachers divide the students into groups of four to five kids. They will be joining us at 9:00 am. The kids sit down for a demonstration about types of flowers, how to plant a perfect pot, a little bit about the garden club, community service, etc. The mayor of Saugatuck often gives an encouraging speech. The group will do a practice pot, meet their assigned volunteer, pick out their flowers to plant…then set out with SDGC members to work on their pots. We traditionally finish with cookies and refreshments at Pumpernickel’s.

Our 2017 summer waterers are Sydney Baker and Caleb Wilson. They were hired based on the winning essays they wrote. The sixth grade teachers reviewed all the essays submitted and selected this wonderful team. They apparently can do much more than write…have you seen how healthy and beautiful the flowers are in our 42 Community Pride Pots around Saugatuck? I don’t think the pots have ever looked better.  Meet Sydney and Caleb.

Enjoy some of the photos from this fun morning.

Meet our Doulas planters

Arbor Day Seedling Workshop

On  April 27th, SDGC volunteers met at Huntree Nursery for our Arbor Day Seedling Workshop.  We bagged and labeled 200 Norway Spruce to hand out to the Kindergarten classes in Fennville and Douglas.  The children can then plant their seedling in the place of their choice.


Saugatuck Middle School Fun

The SDGC has an annual holiday project that is created with the 6th grade classes at Saugatuck Middle School. Each child makes 2 small centerpieces. After they are completed, they take one home for the holiday and the other one goes to our 2 local nursing facilities; Grace of Douglas on Wiley Road and Golden Orchards just outside of Fennville.

Materials used are red cups, pine cones, unbreakable ornaments and ribbon. Walter Klimchek (Walter the Wonderful) leads the children on how to make the bows and how to assemble the arrangement. A wide variety of conifer branches are used, all collected and donated each year by Brendt Sheridan. All other materials used are donated by the Garden club members.

All members and Walter gather at the school by 7:45 am and get busy by trimming all of the conifer branches. The wonderful SDGC volunteers and Walter (the wonderful) help the children put the centerpieces together. A lot of fun and laughter takes place, especially trying to teach 12 year old boys how to make a bow!


Notes were written on each arrangement.



Walter the Wonderful




Greens & Bows Galore!

On September 29th 2016 The SDGC made bows to be used on the greens that adorn public and government buildings in Saugatuck and Douglas during the holidays (see below).  Beginners had a demonstration of bow making by Mary Lyons.  There were a few laughs as one of us gave up and decided to watch!  We made over 40 bows.  The event was hosted by Celeste Teters and Sandy Gelman.  Sandy made delicious soup!

On November 10th, the evergreens and bows were transformed into beautiful holiday boughs, thanks to the wonderful group of garden club volunteers.  Also, a shout out to Jan Landry from Huntree Nursery who supplied the greens and her expertise.  Below is Jan demonstrating the “how to”.  Then Celeste presented Jan with a gift certificate to “THE KIRBY”.  We truly appreciate her involvement in the garden club and her generosity.  THANK YOU JAN!


And then we all jumped in……


A couple examples of our final products!