Informal club gets a green thumbs-up


August 26, 2002|By Lisa Breslin | Lisa Breslin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IN THE SPRING, Westminster resident Judi Johnson and her friend Corrine Zwiselsberger of Sykesville talked about starting an informal gardening club for women who wanted to have fun and swap tips. No competitions, no dues, no minutes, no elected officers. To join this group, the friends thought women should be willing to jump in and get their hands dirty.

That conversation was the seed for Good Thyme Gals, a group of 25 women who gather the second Tuesday of every month to laugh and share information about garden-related topics.

"We have great fun while we learn," said member Lu Dawson of Finksburg.

From the light-hearted membership form to the e-mails swapped among members, everything about this fledgling group is informal.

"We are a group of people with an interest in digging, planting and maintaining. ... We come together from the blighted thumb of the Miracle Gro Goddess," the membership form explains.

E-mails and letters from Johnson to other members end with the phrase: "Happy Trowels to You - Until We Meet Again."

"With so many other structured and demanding things in my life, I've liked that this group is more loosey-goosey than other organizations," said Ruth Gray, a Westminster resident. "The Good Thyme Gals enjoy each other's victories and failures. Judi even brought a dead plant to a meeting once."

In addition to having a good time, members also take service seriously.. Last year they planted more than 150 tulip bulbs at Shepherd's Staff in Westminster.

By pulling in pledges for every bulb planted, the event evolved into a profitable fund-raiser called "Digging for Dollars," which yielded about $300 for back-to-school funds.

"The Shepherd's Staff project was especially satisfying when all the bulbs came up," said Zwiselsberger. "Hopefully, they brought joy to lots of people. We had a good time, and knowing that we were giving something to our community made that project even more fun."

In addition to outreach projects such as the bulb planting, the Good Thyme Gals have taken field trips to a day lily farm, herb gardens and a rose garden. They also are learning about gathering and saving seeds, drying hydrangeas, soils and soil testing, putting the garden to bed, and wreath-making.

"The group has been so delightful," said Westminster resident Ruth Cover. "I really enjoy the fellowship. This is a low-maintenance group, where ribbons and competitions don't matter. Everyone has fun, and if something doesn't grow or work, there is always something else to look forward to."

Information: 410-840-8252.

Coffeehouse concert

Cedarhurst Coffeehouse will open its third season Sept. 14 with singer Joanne Stato. A member of the Baltimore Songwriters' Association, Stato has pulled audiences of all ages to their feet at previous concerts.

Sharing the bill will be Gene Huffman and concert series host Gerry Galuardi, who will sing original tunes and close the night with familiar songs. Audience participation is welcome.

Cedarhurst Coffeehouse is at 2912 Clubhouse Road, Finksburg, at Cedarhurst Unitarian Universalist Church.

Doors will open at 7:30 p.m. Music will start by 8 p.m. Suggested donation is $5. Information: 410-581- 1867 or

Living Treasure

Westminster youth Amanda Muse honors her grandfather Dominic C. Jollie as her Living Treasure this week.

"I love and respect him for all he has done," Amanda writes. "He is a great role model having founded Carroll County Food Sunday. He is a very caring and loving person. That is why he is my Living Treasure."

Who is your Living Treasure? Brighten someone's day by submitting his or her name to: Lisa Breslin, 35 Ridge Road, Westminster, 21157, 410-848-4703.

Lisa Breslin's Central Carroll neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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