With No Income, the Garden Club Funds Pared-Down List of Grant Recipients

Special to the Times

While many garden clubs learn about gardening and beautify the green spaces in their town or neighborhood, the Beacon Hill Garden Club has long been renowned for hosting a tour of members’ gardens annually in May, raising large sums of money through it, and giving away the proceeds to environmental and horticulture non-profit organizations.

For example, in 2019 the club gave away more than $120,000, supporting more than 36 organizations. The Boston Nature Center, the Esplanade Association and the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Healing Garden were recipients of $15,000 grants. Smaller grants went to such important organizations as the Greenway, the City of Boston greenhouses and food-centered projects like the Boston Medical Center’s rooftop garden and City Sprouts.

This year, however, the club had no income from the garden tour or the pre-tour party, the Soirée. They were canceled because of the pandemic. Yet it could not abide not donating at least some funds to organizations that needed them even more during this difficult time.

So Treasurer Alecia Manning reached deep into the club’s bank account. President Kate Enroth put out a call to members to reach deep into their own pockets. The result? The club was able to fund grants between $500 and $2,000 to 20 organizations for a total of $25,300. Many of the recipients maintain edible gardens or provide meals or programming for children that includes a meal. The Boston Food Forest Coalition, the Boston Nature Center and the Boston Bridge Charter School were at the top of the list.

A portion of the funds were aimed at neighborhood beautification, including the West End Public Library’s front garden rejuvenation, the Esplanade’s general fund and watering Codman Island, among other initiatives.

While club members hope for a successful tour in 2021, there are many steps all neighbors can take now to help keep Beacon Hill green during this stressful time. For example, the City of Boston has replaced some dead trees this spring. The club hopes that if you live near a new tree that you will water it weekly, especially during hot spells to help it thrive. In fact, old trees need water too. The tree cover in downtown Boston is important to our health and the health of Boston’s air quality.

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