“A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.” (Gertrude Jekyll)
In the late 1980s, a love of plants, gardens and nature prompted Kathy Parris and Sara Locke Valk to begin what is known today as the Creative Thyme Garden Club. Back in those days the club was known as the “Early Birds Garden Club” which met at 7 a.m. The members consisted of many Evergreen Garden Center employees and friends who shared the intimate bonding with nature through gardening.
Today, the 11-member club meets on the third Tuesday of each month (except December) at a variety of times and in different locations. With both male and female members, the Creative Thyme Garden Club participates in community activities and strives to “make a small part of Kingsport attractive for visitors and residents at our Adopt-A-Spot,” said club member Earl Hockin.
There are five Master Gardeners who are members of the club although that level of distinction is not a prerequisite for membership. The North East Tennessee Master Gardener program and classes provide horticultural training for gardeners who can then volunteer in their communities. Master Gardeners create gardens, help with projects, and conduct research that is regionally specific so that members can use the proper techniques and planting schedules for maximum results.
The Creative Thyme Garden Club participates in two very meaningful projects throughout the year. First, the members volunteer in two-week increments to maintain the Adopt-A-Spot which is located at the John B. Dennis and Stone Drive intersection adjacent to the Kingsport city sign. Three white hydrangeas called Limelight were planted this spring to enhance the entire look of the landscape. Many times as club members are working in that high-traffic area, motorists beep their car horns to show their appreciation for the lovely work being done to make Kingsport more attractive.
Another project that members undertake each November is working at the Second Harvest Food Bank. Here they can interact with other community volunteers to give back to the community. With membership dues of only $15 per year, it’s an excellent way to bond with those who enjoy being outdoors and improving the appearance of homes and landscapes. There is no limit to the number of members that the club can have.
Club members also enjoy visiting flower farms and many of the lovely gardens in and around Kingsport. Members invite speakers to the club, explore new ideas, share plants from their own gardens, and enjoy pot luck lunches at the end of working sessions. An exciting meeting coming up will feature garden art which makes a garden more enjoyable and much more personal for its owner.
Gardening provides much more than just adding beauty to your lawn. It’s an excellent way to get exercise, helps you lose weight, and reduces stress, may lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, and helps to decrease depression. To become a member of the Creative Thyme Garden Club, contact Patricia Link at (423) 534-2114.