Flowering ideas at the Socorro Garden Club
The ladies of the Socorro Garden Club are like perennials, bursting into color year after year, in every season.
Club president Renee Lange-Romero describes the members as gardeners with a passion for “planting our seeds and enjoying the beauty, splendor and fragrance as the seeds mature and repay loving labor with pure joy.”
The seeds for the club itself were planted in 1936 by Mrs. Tom Brown and Mrs. Holm Bursum. Sixteen founding members spent several years clearing vacant lots and planting flowers and trees, with the goal of sprucing up Socorro.
“For our 50th anniversary, we rented the Macey Center,” said Martha Bond, who has been a member for close to 50 years herself. “First State Bank donated a $50 bill, and we raffled it off to pay the rental fee.”
In February, the club celebrated 74 years. One member, Lois Aldrich, celebrated her own 101st birthday this year. Appropriately enough, the Socorro Garden Club was presented with an award at the New Mexico Garden Clubs Convention in Las Cruces earlier this year, in honor of their longevity.
The club’s 31 members take turns hosting the monthly meeting in their homes and arranging a speaker or a project.
Every meeting begins with the Pledge of Allegiance, and ends with refreshments. In between the pledge and the cake, they tend to club business with a great deal of good-natured kidding, and apply their green thumbs to activities like making “bulb lasagna,” where different varieties of flower bulbs are layered in a pot or planter at different depths to achieve successive displays of spring flowers.
At the April meeting, guest speaker Colleen Henkel gave an overview of the intricate art of flower arranging. As she spoke, Henkel created a traditional vertical arrangement, following National Garden Club rules. She used her arrangement to demonstrate how to achieve the principles of balance, contrast, proportion, scale and rhythm, and by incorporating the elements of line, color, texture, pattern, size and space.
Henkel said it’s possible to include unexpected materials such as shredded pieces of radial tires found by the side of the highway to create interest and contrast.
“Hopefully after this presentation you’ll see things in a completely different way,” Henkel said.
The next meeting will be a fieldtrip, something they do every year just for fun. This year’s destination will be the top of Sandia Peak, on the Tramway, with lunch and a nature walk included.
Club members also participate every November in Socorro’s Parade of Lights, care for the Flower Show Exhibit at the county fair every August, and prune the roses at the Good Samaritan nursing home every March. They hold a plant sale every year at the Hammel Museum’s Oktoberfest, to supplement the $15 annual dues each member pays into their very modest treasury. In addition, they publish a member almanac that includes a calendar of events, horticulture tips by the month, poetry, and a member list and phone tree.
This fall, they’ll host the annual meeting of the southwest district of the New Mexico Garden Club Association, in Socorro.
Lange-Romero said there are some members who are Master Gardeners, with experience in landscape design, xeriscaping, native plants, house plants, and other areas of gardening.
“We’re happy to share our knowledge and resources,” Lange-Romero said. “And it’s fun!”
Meetings are held on the first Tuesday of the month, at 1:30 p.m.
“We’re always looking for new members,” said Lange-Romero. “We’d love to have some younger members.”
For more information, contact Renee Lange-Romero at 575-838-2539, or Susan Miller at 575-835-0998.
Contact Suzanne Barteau