Greendale Garden Gazing Club Members Share Their Love of Gardening!

Week#56: Learn about the 18th Annual Greendale Garden Gazing Walk and the club behind it. Find out what WOW and flowers have in common. Also, read about some gardening tips from some of the people who keep the Village Center looking so charming.

History records and explains past events, while folklore preserves what people widely remember.

History and Folklore!

This July 14, 2012 residents and non-residents will have the opportunity to experience why Greendale is called ‘The Garden Community’. The Annual Greendale Garden Gazing Walk will be held on Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon. This is the 18th Annual walk organized by a small and dedicated group of individuals who share a love of gardening. Their efforts and the cooperation of community gardeners make it possible to see gardens that are normally hidden from view. The walk starts and ends at , 5710 Broad Street (i.e. for you GPS techies).

Before I tell you about this amazing group, here are some more particulars concerning the walk:

  • Walk goes on ‘Rain or Shine’
  • Free to the public, but donations to support the event are welcome
  • The self-guided tour starts at the Gazebo where the tour map is picked up
  • Signs, chalk arrows and signposts show the way
  • Homeowners will be available to answer questions
  • Walk should take approximate 2 hours, allowing for 15 minutes at each garden on the walk
  • No dogs allowed on the tour, no strollers, bikes or wagons in the yards
  • A rest area with refreshments and rest rooms is located along the route
  • A raffle can be entered after the tour, with a drawing at noon
  • Raffle prizes will be delivered if not there for the noon drawing

Now for the rest of the story:

As described in a previous story () the early residents in 1938 were families moving from crowded conditions in cities. The Greenbelt communities of Greendale WI, Green Hills OH, and Greenbelt MD were planned communities designed around the Garden City model in Great Britain. In these three new communities, a small entrance to the house faced the street, but the main living area in the rear of the house looked out over larger green spaces. With this improvement in their living conditions many took the opportunity to plant flower and vegetable gardens. There was an annual flower contest, and in a previous story () Bruce Meyer said that his dad John won the contest three times. Over the years these contests were discontinued.

Then in 1995 a small group of residents decided to showcase some of unique hidden gardens in Greendale for everyone to enjoy. The Greendale Garden Gazing Club was formed and the first walk originating from Pioneer Park was held in June of 1995. The Greendale Garden Gazing walk is one of the only free walks in the area. Contributions from major sponsors like the Greendale Entertainment Association and ‘’ help finance the event. Partnerships established over the years provide additional support. The donates the tables, the churches provide rest areas, and Tri City Bank furnishes a popcorn machine. The Village Department of Public Works steps up huge by setting out trash cans and barricades. They also repair sidewalks and conduct a pre-walk to make sure the route is safe.

Paula Wallner, one of the members of the club, provided some insight into the thinking behind the event. She said the members have a love of gardening, but also like walking. This annual event encourages walking for people of all ages, and the tour takes them along some of the many walking paths in Greendale they might not otherwise take. It also brings people to the Village Center. She estimates that 50% of the 500 plus participants in the walk are from outside Greendale. Paula concluded by saying, “People plan their vacations around this walk. It is always the 2nd Saturday in July.”

Another member, Pam Kania listed what she thinks are the key elements that make this annual event a success. First, the hidden gardens would not be seen unless this walk existed. Second, the homeowners are there during the walk. People love to talk with them, ask questions, compare notes on gardening. Next, the walk has different levels of gardening. Some gardens are grand; some are just ‘container’ gardens. This provides appeal for everyone. Lastly, the tour rotates between different sections of the Village each year. Homeowners and gardens change. This variety keeps the tour fresh and people coming back year after year.

I must admit I’ve never been on one of these Greendale Garden Gazing walks, but that is going to end this Saturday, July 14th. I like walking, think flowers and plants are OK, and find what the club does to stage this event amazing. The time spent and the details they must work out every year are substantial. As soon as this years’ event concludes they will start work on 2013. I hear they are planning something absolutely special for Greendale’s 75th Diamond Celebration year.

Kudos go out to the sponsors, the supporting partners, and the participants. Finally, special thanks to all the club members and the homeowners who so generously share their love of gardening with us all.

But did you know?

It’s hot out there this summer. After two days in a row of over 100 degrees, I thought I’d ask the plant guru from Grandhaven, Stacy Yingling, for some hints in caring for outdoor plants. The first thing she said was that “more plants are killed by overwatering than under watering”. That surprised me. I always worry that I’m not watering enough during the excessive heat. She explained that “a plant that is too dry can usually be brought back, but if too wet it is hard to save”. She said yellow leaves are usually a sign of over watering. During very hot periods her crew will water plants every day, but otherwise every other day in the mornings.

The other big tip she gave me was that plants should have good drainage. There should always be a drainage hole or holes in the bottom of potted flowers. Stacy explained, “You can’t have too many holes. We usually water until we see the water coming out of the holes. It’s the soil that you want to get soaked with water.” She said you can use coffee filters over the holes to keep the soil from running out of the pot if that is a problem. So there you have it. Two easy tips from the ‘guru’ that should help your plants survive. However, for award winning plants I’m sure more care is involved.

People, Past & Present!

Take a summer stroll down either side of Broad Street outside the Village businesses and you’ll see gorgeous flowers in plots or hanging baskets. The landscaping crew from Grandhaven plants and prepares this picturesque scenery, and the Weed Out Warriors (aka WOW) keep the plots spruced up to perfection. This is fittingly a community effort that began in 1997.

In the fall of 1996 Grandhaven LLC purchased the northern most Broad Street business buildings and began remodeling them and creating new landscaping. In 1997 a call went out for volunteers to assist with maintaining the garden plots. That’s when the Weed Out Warriors were formed. Each WOW individual, family, or business has an assigned plot and their name is on a small sign. Every volunteer receives a uniquely designed WOW t-shirt each year at a kickoff party. Then it is their responsibility to till the soil, pull the weeds and snap off the dead heads during the growing season.  

With all the effort that goes into planting and maintaining the flower beds, I wondered what kind of damage the crowds do during the 4th of July and Village Days parades. I posed that question to Stacy Yingling, the ‘General’ in charge of the Grandhaven landscape crew and the Weed Out Warriors. She said that the crowds are very respectful of the plantings and don’t hurt the flowers. That’s pretty amazing considering the large crowds, blankets, chairs, and strollers along Broad Street during the parades. I guess everyone recognizes the special beauty of the Village Center.

Thanks to these individuals for the beauty in the Village Center in 2012:

Grandhaven LLC Landscape Department: Stacy Yingling, Jesse Meltzer, Dennis Vilkoski and part-time helpers Arthur Starosciak, Carley Johnsen, and Kyle Johnsen.

2012 Weed Out Warriors: Pam Ariens, Jen Brunhoefer & Cris Reischl,
Sally Biermann, Morgan & Jacob Schroeder, Sally Chadwick, Druse Family, Hugh Evans, Duane & Janet Freitag, Alana Holter, Bubba-Brair Huffman, Jim & Susie Jankowski, Deb & Kevin Keesler, Ted & Bernie Knier, Cheryl & Josh Koc, Tom & Gloria Lacey, M & I, Steve, Judy & Joel Maersch, Sherry & Randy Meyer, Terry & Nancy Newton, Jim & Mary Ann Schaefer, Al & Patti Sikorski, Ahliya Sotelo, Cheryl & Mimi Soto, Gina Turner, Bob & Paula Wallner, Cathy Walters, Mary Ann & Dan Zauner. Note: To become a WOW stop in at the Visitor Center and sign up.  

Greendale Garden Gazing Club: Paula Wallner (co-chair), Jan Seitz (co-chair), Pam Kania,Joanne Richards, Sue Milarch, and Chris Holley

Greendale Trivia Question and Answer:

– The answers to last weeks’ questions did not come in yet, but when they do we’ll be sure to let you know. The questions again are: Does anyone know when the water ‘exhibitions’ put on by the Fire Department ended? Does anyone have more recent pictures of these water games and the individuals involved?

Week#56 Question – What is the name of the field where the Greendale Panthers play their baseball games? What is the significance of the name?

** Week #56 contributors Sally Chadwick, Greendale Garden Gazing Club, Paula Wallner, Pam Kania, Stacy Yingling.


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