Garden Club gets to work

Members of the Isle Madame Garden Club are seen here visiting the Rocky Bay property of Claire and George Kehoe during a garden tour on July 18.

ROCKY BAY: The Rocky Bay Irish Club will be a busy spot on August 15 as the Isle Madame Garden Club (IMGC) will be hosting its first annual flower show, district meeting, and dinner.

“We’re hoping to continue this tradition as we grow as a club,” said Joanne Ford, president of the IMGC. Ford is quite devoted to the world of green thumbs, as she’s the Nova Scotia Association of Garden Clubs (NSAGC) District Commissioner for Cape Breton.

Ford took over as president following the passing of Mary Lou Daniels last April. Daniels got the ball rolling for the club, after moving to Isle Madame from Northern Ontario. She is remembered fondly by the membership, who planted a Magnolia tree in her memory at the Rocky Bay Irish Club’s Mother’s Trail Garden.

“All the clubs on the island will come and visit,” said Ford of the upcoming district meeting.

“We’re a brand new club, and the members haven’t even been to a district meeting before. It’s all new and exciting for sure.”

August 15 is shaping up to be one very active day.

The group will receive entries for its flower show from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Entrance is free, and $300 in prizes is up for grabs. Anyone looking for info on entering can contact Ford at: or her fellow IMGC member Claire Doyle at: Either member is happy to send out a flower show syllabus.

The registration period runs from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., and the cost is $7 for adults and $3 for kids. Registration allows entrance to a meet-and-greet, to the guest speaker’s discussion, the awards show, and a meal consisting of lasagna, salad. garlic bread, and pie for dessert.

The guest speaker is Sharon Bryson, the NSAGC District 2 Director of Eastern Nova Scotia. Her discussion starts at 2 p.m., and it’s entitled “Getting to Know Azaleas.” After the presentation, she will take questions.

The presidents of local clubs will offer presentations regarding what their groups have been up to, following Bryson’s talk. The presents will speak from 3:30 p.m. until 4 p.m.

Flower show awards will be handed out at 4 p.m. Dinner will be served at 5 p.m.

Ford is from Sydney, but she said she considers Isle Madame her second home.

“I can’t express how much I love spending time with the people of Isle Madame,” she said.

“They are wonderful.

“We welcome new members, and we certainly welcome the public. If you have a love of gardening or an interest in gardening, this would be a wonderful time to participate. You don’t need to be a garden club member. The flower show is free, and the admission charge is just to cover the dinner.”

The club is 22 members strong, and that’s up from a starting position of eight. Another step in the right direction is the IMGC joining the Nova Scotia Association of Garden Clubs (NSAGC) last March. The NSAGC is a province-wide organization that consists of over 57 garden clubs and horticultural societies. It’s divided into seven districts.

Ford said being affiliated with them is a good thing, in that the provincial body offers many forms of assistance to smaller groups like help in printing a newsletter and setting up a Web presence.

“They give us access to a tremendous amount of information,” she said.

Ford noted the Isle Madame group has many more activities planned throughout the year, right up to December. The plan is to close out the year with a Christmas workshop.

Anyone interested in learning more about Ford and her friends is invited to visit their Facebook page. The easiest way to find them is by entering “Isle Madame Garden Club” into Facebook’s search engine.