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Garden Club keeps downtown green
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Turlock Garden Club President Carol McRoberts is joined by fellow members around a planter pot at the corner of Main and Thor streets in downtown Turlock. An army of nearly 25 volunteers tend to 41 planter pots throughout downtown. - photo by JONATHAN MCCORKELL / The Journal

Wearing green aprons and gardening gloves and armed with clippers and water, 25 volunteers from the 75-member Turlock Garden Club tend to more than 40 planter pots in downtown Turlock twice a month.

The volunteers ensure Main Street looks a little more alive with colorful, well-maintained plant life.

For garden club members it is a labor of love and the opportunity to give back to the community. “Volunteers really take ownership of the pots and it takes a lot of effort to keep these pots looking so good,” said club president Carol McRoberts.

Of course, some friendly competition ensues between the teams of volunteers and bragging rights are carried along for having “the best looking pot in town.”

Twice a year — in the spring and fall — the volunteers replant pots that are in need, a task accomplished through funding from the Turlock Downtown Property Owners Association. Volunteers buy plants recommended by The Greenery Nursery in downtown.

“We have a lot of fun; some of us are avid gardeners and some of us just want to be here. Sometimes after we are done we will go out and get coffee or a donut. It’s a really nice place to come,” said McRoberts. The club has been around since 1948.

Laura Bravinder, who just joined the garden club after moving from Visalia, said Turlock’s club is full of life.

“There are a lot of activities and a lot more to do,” she said.

Bravinder discovered the club at the Friday farmers market, where club volunteers hold an information booth once a month. Besides tending to the planter pots in downtown, members are active in community improvement projects. At each meeting members collect canned foods which are donated to the Salvation Army. Last year when the Julien Elementary School garden was vandalized the club donated $100 for its renovation.

Members also attend classes on proper gardening techniques where they learn trimming and planting flowers and about horticulture. The garden club meets once a month at the Turlock Senior Center.

Dues for the club are $20 a year, $15 goes to the Turlock Senior Citizens club and $5 goes toward the garden club. Garden club members do not have to be senior citizens. For more information about the club, call Carol McRoberts at 668-4808.

To contact Jonathan McCorkell, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.