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The President’s Corner — Who and What is the Garden Enhancement Committee?



As President, I am involved in the many aspects of the JCMGA business. Before I became President, I gradually involved myself in several committees to get a feel for the things that we as an organization do and the people who do them.  I then graduated to being a part of several working groups. Some groups are mostly “business”, and some are about activity-related business. I enjoy all of them, and as I can’t seem to stay out of anything, especially if it involves an event, I am there!

There is one committee that I am especially fond of, and I have been a member since I was a student. It is a “get it done” group that is not afraid to get their hands dirty (or face or clothes, LOL). Most of the members don’t hold any other positions – we are all the same hardworking people who enjoy each other’s company. The Garden Enhancement Committee – affectionately known as the GEC – is a committee in the Gardens Working Group. Our fearless leader is Janine Salvatti and members include Kari Gies, Marcie Katz, Candie Steely, Lyn Boening and Gail Ropel. We meet every Monday from 9 AM to 12 PM.

We tackle many projects. All the pathways that connect the gardens are our domain. We keep them intact and weed-free by using vinegar, Preen weed preventer, hard work and lots of decomposed granite! We also maintain all the signage for the Demonstration Gardens. All those signs with the info boxes in each garden are put in place by us. The brochure boxes are put up each spring and taken down in the fall. The face pages in the boxes are written (with input from the GEMS) and designed by our graphic designer, with the same verbiage that is on each garden’s webpage. This year we revamped and updated them to include a QR code which takes you right to the JCMGA webpage. The directional arrows on the signpost and throughout the gardens are placed by us as well. As there have been many changes in the gardens in the last few years, it has been challenging to keep up!

Our little group has also taken on a few areas of our own to develop. The driveway entry sign used to have grass and weeds around it until we planted native plants with the help of Sherri Morgan and Lynn Kunstman several years ago. Since there is no irrigation out there, we manually water every week and keep it maintained.

Many of you are familiar with the “Gathering Place”, that peaceful area under the beautiful old oak. That area used to be a part of the Kitchen Garden, which was decommissioned due to placement of the storage pods. We decided to make it a meeting/lunch/quiet spot. We spray painted the patio tables and chairs, then transformed the remaining raised beds into a cut flower garden for all to see and enjoy when entering the parking lot. Janine, our resident artist, made the mosaic butterfly on the “Gather” post and turned us on to making “glass panel mosaics.” We had a workday where we made the glass panels you see hanging in several of the gardens. They are quite a hit! So much so, the Fundraising Committee has scheduled a workshop on September 15 for anyone who wants to make some! Bring materials (frame with glass, vase marbles, colored glass saucers, cups, etc.) and create a masterpiece of your own!

We have also been known to help out in Demonstration Gardens that don’t have a GEM. Currently we are working on the Fig Grove – weeding, cutting blackberries and eventually laying down wood chips. All in all, not bad for a group of aging women! Even our meetings are fun. We meet at each other’s homes once a month for lunch, take a tour of the gardens and talk shop!  If you are interested in joining our merry little band, come over on any Monday, or contact Janine Salvatti at