Roscoe Gardening Club highlights the best of nature


Giveaways at the April 2024 meeting of the Roscoe Gardening Club.

"My passion for gardening does not end with the arrival of winter," says Roscoe Gardening Club founder Renee Mealey, "and I suspected there were other gardeners in Northern Illinois who have the same dedication." 

So in January 2024, Mealey says, "I thought creating a space where members of our community could connect with one another to share their love of gardening would be a valuable contribution to our region."

This venture has taken off and is continuing to plant local roots by growing interest, by planting seeds of fun, and in highlighting the best of nature.

The free monthly meetings are open to the public. Monthly meetings are generally held at the Roscoe Township Community Center at 4562 Hononegah Rd. from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m.

Meetings offer opportunities for a seed swap, magazine swap, a plant swap or to choose produce from an “abundance” table.

Mealey adds, “Fortunately, with the building of the Roscoe Township Community Center and the support of Roscoe Township Trustee Elizabeth Lindquist and Supervisor Bob Nowicki, the Roscoe Gardening Club has a beautiful venue where the monthly meetings are held... The Roscoe Gardening Club is an inclusive, welcoming group which is free to all who wish to join."

Mealey says they have structured their nonprofit organization to rely solely on donations and sponsorship, rather than membership dues, "which I believe, will invite and allow for our entire community to participate."

Local presenters speak on a variety of topics which reflect the club's mission to promote the love of gardening, wildlife, civic beautification and development, while understanding it is our duty to protect and improve the environment.

Mealey is joined on the board of directors by vice president Sheri Henson, treasurer Rachel Rutledge, and marketing coordinator Lisa Brown.

More information on Roscoe Gardening Club can be found at gardening., or at Facebook/groups/roscoegardeningclub.

The club's first annual garden walk will be held on June 15, 2024 from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. The garden walk is a self guided free event. Maps can be located online or picked up in local nurseries. The five locations are all in Roscoe, with the exception of the last one.

The club's next in person meeting will be on August 17 at 10 a.m. where a representative from Nicholas Conservatory will be speaking about The Art of Butterfly Gardening. Everyone who has an interest is more than welcome to attend.

The club has a very active Facebook page where members exchange gardening ideas and inspiration. "At the moment we have 1,145 members, which is exciting."

“Just last week, some of the club members have begun to organize a community building project for Rockton entitled 'Rocky, The Rock Snake' where local residents are invited to add a painted rock to the snake, with the goal of seeing how long it can grow. It is designed to be a fun, entertaining project, where community members can work together with a common objective and hopefully create a sense of camaraderie on a local level,” Mealy said. The project was completed on June 11.

The June 15 garden walk is geared toward anyone who is seeking inspiration for their next garden bed, or maybe have a question about where a plant might be best situated. Participants will have the opportunity to get answers to these inquiries, or to find tranquility in taking a stroll through beautiful gardens.

The five locations: the Stacey Salcido home at 6580 Arena Dr, Rachel Rutledge garden at 3996 Valerie Rd., Pat Graves Garden at 11781 Bowen Parkway, Sheri Henson Garden at 9758 Smoke Tree Lane and the Phillip Timm Garden at 4708 Orchard Ln. in Rockford.

The Salcido garden is fondly referred to as Club Las Velas North. It is called an oasis as it has a hand dug koi pond that is full of mature koi and lucky catfish. Several varieties of perennials will be seen from the front to the backyard. Hanging baskets full of stunning annuals are sure to capture great attention. Listen to the sounds of a peaceful waterfall while watching the birds as you sit in the garden under the shaded areas of a patio.

Sites to see in the Rutledge garden include the charm of a young garden showcasing beautiful flowers, plus a dedicated section with various beds for perennial and annual fruits and vegetables.

A stunning garden on the Pat Graves property is situated among a variety of trees and landscaping, creating a completely different atmosphere than some of the other gardens.

Walk through an area full of whimsical delights and secret surprises midst a beautiful array of flowers and bushes in the Hensen garden. Visitors are sure to be amazed and delighted by numerous everyday items which have been repurposed into colorful planters and garden decor.

The Timm garden has been 35 years in the making. Lots of special sites cover these grounds where garden walk participants will see hundreds of different hostas, a stumpery garden, a dragon garden, a Sasquatch garden, a Venus plant garden plus a large selection of blooming annuals and perennials.

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