By Starrla Cray
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN With a splash of sunshine and a little help from the Merry Prairie Garden Club, the plants in Lester Prairie are perkier than ever.
“We’re all in it because we love to garden,” said member Tonia Sikorski, who spends her days working at Holasek Flower Power Garden Center in Lester Prairie.
The club began about a year ago, as a way for gardening enthusiasts to share and grow their passion. The name “Merry Prairie” was chosen to show that membership is open to anyone, not just those who live in Lester Prairie.
“Everybody is welcome,” Sikorski said. “We want people from Winsted, New Germany, and surrounding communities to join.”
The club is completely free, and meetings generally take place at 6:30 p.m. the first Tuesday of each month, March through December. Tomorrow’s meeting (Tuesday, June 3) will be at the Holasek Flower Power Garden Center break room.
To make each meeting interesting, members take turns planning activities, such as a garden tour or project.
“We’ve been very fortunate to be able to tour several gardens in the past year,” Sikorski said. “People have been very gracious.”
When the weather doesn’t permit tours, the club enjoys working on a garden-related project, such as creating stepping stones or garden art.
“We have a good time,” Sikorski said. “Some people have lived in or around Lester Prairie and haven’t had the chance to get to know each other. This club is a great way to meet people.”
About eight to 10 people of varying ages and abilities attend each meeting.
“The club is for anyone interested in gardening beginners to experienced and everyone in between,” Sikorski said.
In the spring, summer, and fall, members maintain the landscaping around the signs that welcome people to Lester Prairie. They do a few fundraisers throughout the year, and they also plan to be part of the hammerschlagen booth at Prairie Days.
Other projects planned this summer include planting around the new community sign near First Community Bank, and updating the perennial garden at Sunrise Nature Park.
To learn more about the club, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or ask for Sikorski at Holasek Flower Power Garden Center, at (320) 395-2780.
The University of Minnesota Extension gives the following plant ideas for attracting butterflies to your garden:
• Purple coneflower
• Joe-Pye weed
• Globe centaurea
• Swamp milkweed
• Queen Anne’s Lace
• Tawny daylily
• ‘Marine’ heliotrope
• Butterfly weed
• Mountain bluet
• Annual aster
• ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum
• Rock cress
• French marigold
• ‘Happy Returns’ daylily
• Blanket flower