Get To Know the Gracious Garden Gals
“Meet me at 3:30 AM at my house. Don’t ring the doorbell. Bring a flashlight, your wheelbarrow, and cash. They only take cash.”
It was rainy and dark as we pulled up to Debbe’s house on our adventure to choose the best flowers at Hartford’s Regional Market. Some vendors were not even there yet. It was so dark we had to use our flashlights to find what we were looking for. Debbe knew what kind, how many. She and Esther McNany buy annual flowers each year to plant in their own gardens and also to add to the perennials in the church flowerbeds.
Debbe Wisneski, master gardener, has been taking care of our church flower beds for fourteen years, since Pastor Ross Morrison’s time at the church. Her team, called “The Gracious Garden Gals,” consists of Maureen Alexander, Pam Seilhammer, and Rosemary Panella, with Debbe as the leader. These ladies work from early spring through the end of the fall to beautify our church. They rotate weekly, as per Debbe’s schedule, to tend to the flower beds surrounding the church and the front sign. Debbe says she would gladly welcome any men who would enjoy working with them too.
The many gardening tasks include: watering, dead-heading, planting annuals, trimming, weeding, maintaining the soaker hoses, and keeping grubs out as best they can. You may notice the seasonal switchovers in the big pots in the front: from Easter lilies to summer flowers, mums and pumpkins for fall, and Christmas décor in the winter. When the weather is nice, they spend about 5 hours a week taking care of the church flowers. With the awful July and August heat, the gardeners spend double that, about 10 hours per week to keep our flowers watered and looking nice.
Debbe grew up on a farm in Avon, and her grandfather was a wizard with plants. She remembers trailing Gramps around the yard and watching him with fascination in his 250-full tulip bed, and switching to mums and asters in the flowerbeds in the fall. Pruning was one of the things she noticed most about how her grandfather maintained the beds. Debbe, herself, has 18 window boxes on her deck and plants all of her neighbors’ flowers. She just enjoys digging in the dirt!
Debbe certainly praises God as she gardens. “There’s something about being in that dirt and starting with that little plant and nurturing it. I feel like I’m like a proud mother watching these plants. I’m drawn to God’s beauty. It edifies my soul. The beauty just is spectacular! The colors are captivating! I’m just saying, ‘Thank you Lord!’ as I garden!”
When our beautiful New England church is surrounded with pretty flowers, Debbe feels that it speaks volumes about how the church is loved and taken care of. We are grateful to Debbe and the Gracious Garden Gals for their many hours and years of service to surround our church with God’s beautiful creation!