Garden Club. You might imagine little old ladies with white gloves drinking tea and talking about herbs. But when it comes to the Westerville Garden Club, that image is far from reality, says club member, Barb Shepard.

“We are an active diverse group. Young and old; men and women. We enjoy planting and gardening, but community education is huge to us,” said Shepard.

Members from the Garden Club regularly teach a free class at the Westerville Community Center.

“It is a great partnership between Westerville Parks and Recreation and the Garden Club. We love being able to share knowledge and encourage others. It doesn’t matter if you live in an apartment or don’t have much of a green thumb, there are plenty of ways you can engage in gardening,” she said.

Many of the classes focus on being environmentally-friendly. Most recently, Michele White and Shepard presented a how-to workshop on making your own health and home products.

DSCF2199 edited for blog

“You may think gardening is a completely green activity, but it is important to be aware of our environmental impacts, pesticides and indoor pollutants,” said Shepard. “We strive to be green in the broadest sense possible.”

As the two chit-chatted while setting up, it is apparent Garden Club blossomed a lasting friendship between them.

“About six years ago, I brought my mom to a Garden Club presentation at the Community Center and Barb was teaching. I thought it would be a good opportunity for my mom to get involved and stay busy, and it turns out I fell in love with the organization,” said White.

That sense of community and friendship is carried throughout the club.

“There is just something about a down-to-earth person that likes to dig in the dirt. We get to serve with people who are so real and passionate,” said Shepard.

This month, a full room of participants came out to learn about toxicity in typical household cleaners and how to make natural products instead.

“I encourage people to consider making homemade cleaners. They are quick and easy to mix together, more affordable and reduce the amount of toxins in your home, body and the environment,” said White.

One recipe they shared is for dishwasher detergent. Directions are below:

DISHWASHER DETERGENT

Dishes, silverware and glassware come out shiny and clean thanks to this simple three-ingredient powder containing antibacterial grapefruit essential oil.

Prep: 4 min.
Cost: $2.45DSCF2155 edited for blog
Yield: 32 oz. (Enough for 32 loads)

YOU’LL NEED:
–Rubber gloves
–Measuring cup
–Mixing bowl
–32-oz. plastic container with lid

INGREDIENTS:
–2 cups washing soda (Similar to baking soda, but slightly stronger and can’t be ingested)
–2 cups borax
–25 drops grapefruit essential oil

INSTRUCTIONS:
–Put on gloves.
–Add washing soda, borax and oil to bowl. Stir with your hands to mix and eliminate clumps.
–Transfer powder to plastic container.
–Use 2 Tbsp. detergent per wash.
–You also can add 1 tsp. vinegar, if desired, to the rinse cycle to prevent spots on silverware and glasses.

There are two Westerville Garden Club classes coming up at the Westerville Community Center. Come learn how to introduce mason bees into your garden and create colorful landscaping all season long. To get signed up for these free workshops, click here.

And for more information on the Westeville Garden Club, visit their website at www.westervillegardenclub.com