Joppatowne Garden Club
 For more information please call Sophia @ (410) 256-6834
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Joppatowne Garden Club Board of Directors
Mary Dirlam, President
BJ Porter, First Vice President
Tracy Sult, Second Vice President
Becky Ponder, Secretary
Donna Heimberger, Corresponding Secretary
Growing up, my mother always had a vegetable garden and took the time to harvest the fresh plums, apples, and grapes that grew wild in our yard. She fed us from the yard and then canned and preserved the surplus. Some of my best childhood memories are of picking fruits and vegetables that she cultivated and then helping her make sauces, pickles, jams, and jellies. When my husband and I moved out to Harford County, we knew we would have a garden.

Our first attempts were less than successful as we learned about soil composition, sun and shade, and the drainage of our uneven yard. Finally, in 2015, we found the right spot, and our garden has been going strong. My husband and I joined the Garden Club in 2017. We have learned so much from other club members and from the monthly speakers. The club has introduced me to some wonderful people who share my interest in gardening and is helping me become a better gardener.
My interest in gardening started in elementary school when the class planted small marigolds for a take-home project. I lovingly planted my little flower and watched it each day. I was so excited when I found its first bud. My first plant made an untimely end when my father mowed too close to the flower bed and chopped it down. Good old Grandma! She bought me an entire flat of marigolds.

Later in high school, a dedicated teacher started a hydroponic tomato plant section in a corner of the science lab. The school day was much more engaging when we all got to take turns tending to the tomatoes. And it only added to my developing interest in gardening.

Throughout my life, I have always enjoyed watching a plant grow. From the winter amaryllis, to the first push of the crocus through the snow, and later planting my herb garden, I enjoy watching and caring for the plants in my yard. It reminds me that mankind’s first home was the Garden of Eden. 

I first learned about the gardening club when I drove in and out of Joppatowne and saw the landscape committee making the entry way so attractive. I am glad to be a part of a club that does so much for the community.  
Both of my Grandmothers were gardeners, one with flowers the other growing a huge vegetable garden to feed her 5 children. I got the best of both of them. As I love both I have had a vegetable garden for 20 years adding more each year or trying out different vegetables. I also had a dwarf Peach tree at a prior home and now I have a Fig tree I am working with. My latest hobby is a Herb and Tea Garden. I like to grow, dry and study herbs for teas along with medicinal tinctures. I have now tinctured 15 herbs in the past two years as I believe in using what Mother Nature gave us for curing common ailments. 
I grew up in Baltimore City and the only thing I remember us growing were two bushes on either side of our front steps and one pussy willow tree in the back yard. Later I moved to Harford County and realized I could get produce and vegetables from local farms. What a pleasant surprise it was when I discovered they tasted much better than from the freezer or can. That sparked my interest in growing. One day my neighbor volunteered to till up my new garden while I was working and when I came home, instead of an 8’ x 10’ garden, I had a 15’ x 30’ garden! Wow, what am I going to do with this? I just planted anything I thought might grow, vegetables and flowers, and have been doing it ever since.

I must say I’ve gotten much better at it and since 2016, with the knowledge I have acquired thru our garden club members and speakers. The subjects are always very informative, interesting and our group is very encouraging. We do several outreach projects each year to make our community a more beautiful and compassionate place. I love the Joppatowne Garden Club!