The club's first Weed Wrangle tackled two invasive plant species plaguing the gardens.
With 50% of the Ormond Memorial Art Museum gardens made up of invasive plants, the Garden Club of Halifax Country had their work cut out for them for the club's first Weed Wrangle.
Members, along with five Seabreeze High School students, spent their morning on Thursday, Feb, 27, clearing the invasive plants from the small section by the museum's entrance in honor of National Invasive Species Awareness Week. Weed Wrangle is a volunteer effort held statewide in partnership with the Garden Club of America. It originated in Nashville, Tennessee, and has now been implemented across seven states.
The GCHC focused on two main types of invasive plants: sword ferns and asparagus ferns. Members pulled them out of the ground in clumps, depositing them in large paper bags. The club's Horticulture Chairman Susan Anderson said they hope to host another Weed Wrangle in the near future to keep hacking away at these invasive species, which are easy to spot throughout the lush gardens.
“We’re just going to take slow, little steps," Anderson said.
For Seabreeze High School agriculture and horticulture teacher Kristen Perkins, bringing a small group of students to help the club provides learning opportunities they wouldn't have at school.
“It’s neat for them to be able to see things," Perkins said. "Just like a second ago, they were picking up some of the ferns, so I got to show them there are seeds on the back called spores.”
It's also National Future Farmers of America Week, and since the GCHC has helped Seabreeze substantially with its agriculture program, Perkins thought the participating in the Weed Wrangle was a good way to give back.
The GCHC hopes to open the next Weed Wrangle event to the public to help spread information about which plants are native, and which aren't. Club President Muffi Chanfrau said that getting rid of the invasive species won't only improve the gardens, but help the local wildlife such as birds and insects that feed on native plants.
She added that it's been an educational opportunity for the club members too, as they realized some of them have invasive species in their yards. And while the road to raising awareness for native plants is a long one, the club is dedicated.
“When you have something that you’re trying to do, you may not be able to eat the whole elephant but you can take one bite at a time,” Chanfrau said.