By KENDAL ENZ
The Frederick News-Post
FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — Gardening isn’t just for women, as the Men’s Garden Club of Frederick County will assure you.
“Yes, there really is a Men’s Garden Club,” said Richard Adams, club secretary. “It’s Frederick’s best-kept secret.”
The club, which has 37 members, meets seven times a year to learn about gardening-related topics from guest speakers.
“We usually meet around 7 o’clock at a member’s house for cocktails and then we have a speaker lecture on different modalities of gardening,” said Vincent DiFabio, club president.
The vice president, currently Tim Gibian, is also the chairman of the program committee and is responsible for selecting the speakers, although anyone can submit suggestions.
Speakers’ topics have included everything from outdoor lighting to stink bugs.
“We had an entomologist from Western Maryland who was the authority on stink bugs,” said club member James Lillard. “She had the first official sighting of stink bugs in the state.”
The entomologist was Tracy Leskey of the Appalachian Fruit Research Station in West Virginia. The club is working with Celebrate Frederick Inc. to recruit gardeners for the 2012 Beyond the Garden Gates garden tour, which the club will host for the second time this spring.
The self-guided tour allows Frederick residents and visitors to explore the gardens hidden behind the gates of private Frederick homes.
“The garden tour is a good way to get ideas for your own garden,” Adams said.
“We receive one-quarter of the fees made. In the past, we used the profits to install hanging baskets around downtown,” Lillard said.
Recently, the Men’s Garden Club has been trying to become more involved in community projects.
“We’re working with city parks to plant a garden in the East Street circle,” said Bob Robey, Men’s Garden Club member and leader of the project. “The circle is the first thing people see coming into Frederick.”
The “circle garden” is north of the I-70 interchange at the entrance to East Street. The club is waiting for the Public Art Commission of Frederick to select a sculpture for the circle before it plants the garden.
“We can’t decide on the flowers until we know what the statue looks like,” Robey said.
But that doesn’t mean club members haven’t done any work at the site.
“We’ve pulled out thousands of weeds from the circle,” Lillard said. The garden portion of the circle is 90 feet in diameter.
So far, club members have visited the circle six times to pull weeds and spread mulch.
“We used 240 bags of mulch to cover the area,” Robey said, “and they were big bags.”
According to Lillard, the Men’s Garden Club was founded in 1993 by Frederick resident Jerry Coates.
“He and his friends decided to get together to share their gardening ideas,” Lillard said.
The club is based on the Men’s Garden Club of America, but it is not affiliated with that organization.
“Gardening is very therapeutic for me,” said Adams. “I enjoy seeing things grow.”
“There’s nothing nicer than enjoying a garden,” he said.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)