Tags: Geneva Lake West
May 27, 2014 | 02:20 PMFONTANA — Porter Court Plaza was full of plants, people and pies.
Fontana Garden Club members all wore green T-shirts and smiles.
The club’s annual plant sale fundraiser has grown to take over the plaza near the Coffee Mill.
The club sells native perennial plants and homemade pies to raise money for the group’s scholarship fund.
The process of bringing all the plants to the plaza starts in March, Claudia Garber said.
“We have a list of names of people who have gardens, where they let us dig,” Garber, secretary of the club, said.
“We call in March and set up a time to dig up their gardens.”
The club members gather plants and pot them at the Geneva Lake Conservancy.
“The conservancy is great,” Garber said. “They let us pot and store the plants there before the sale.”
As Memorial Day weekend arrives, club members gather the plants on corn wagons donated by Pearce Farms.
“The village of Fontana is always helpful with letting us use the plaza,” Garber said. “The sale has probably been going on for about 20 years or so now.”
Word is getting around, too. Cars were parked bumper to bumper on the streets surrounding the plaza, and people pulled wagons full of plants to their cars.
A few weeks ago, Garber said club members were a little worried about having enough plants to hold the sale.
“A lot depends on the weather conditions,” she said. “This year, it was pretty cold for a while, and we were worried about not having any plants. Suddenly, it was a bunch of green popping up.”
The number of gardens the club digs from varies by year, too. Garber said area residents hear about the plant sale and want something dug from their garden.
“They call us then, and we dig up their garden,” she said. “We had about 46 gardens we dug from this year, including Congdon Gardens in Delavan.”
Garber said they had around 3,200 plants to sell, and at the end of the day Sunday only 150 plants left.
They sold grasses, flowering plants and herbs.
Along with the club’s plants, Peche’s Greenhouse and Jung’s Greenhouse also had annuals for sale.
Leftover plants were donated to the Master Gardeners of Walworth County for their upcoming plant sale in Elkhorn.
Garber said the club won’t know for a while how much money they raised over the two-day plant sale.
Money raised goes toward the club’s scholarship fund, which is open to students in area high schools who plan to study an agriculture related field in college.
Garber said if the students maintain standards, they’re eligible for a renewing scholarship every year while in college.
“We usually call the schools and talk to the counselors,” she said. “They tell us which students are interested in studying in those fields, and then the students can apply for the scholarship.”
Besides scholarships, the club also donates money to conservation causes and area gardens in Walworth County.