Greater Tulsa Reporter
FLOWERS AND MORE: Jenks Garden Club members Karen Meyer, left, and Dixie Grahlman pose in promotion of the club’s annual Herb and Plant Festival, to be held in downtown Jenks on April 25.
EMILY RAMSEY for GTR Newspapers
The Jenks Garden Club prepares to welcome spring and gardening enthusiasts at its annual Herb and Plant Festival April 25 in downtown Jenks.
The event, to be held 8 a.m.-4 p.m., will host more than 100 vendors featuring herb and vegetable plants, flowers, shrubs, trees, and gardening supplies and materials.
“We feel like the festival is the announcement of spring,” says Jenks Garden Club member Mari Migliore.
Children’s arts and crafts activities will be available, including a booth offering them their “First Planting Experience.” Also for kids will be train rides and tours of a Jenks Fire Truck.
An added feature at this year’s festival will be an interactive exhibit of A Gathering Place that patrons can explore, offering a glimpse of the park’s finished look.
“We’re excited that the Kaiser Family Foundation selected our venue to display their exhibit,” says Migliore. “I believe they chose us because (the festival) is a prime location that meets their demographic.” That demographic largely being families and gardeners drawn to the nostalgic feel of downtown Jenks, she continues.
“It’s a very hometown feel,” says club member Dixie Grahlman.
The festival, in its 19th year, is organized by the Jenks Garden Club. It serves as the club’s only annual fundraising event and provides gardening education to the community, Migliore says.
The club uses proceeds from the event to fund a yearly $2,000 scholarship that is awarded to a Jenks High School senior who will pursue a horticulture degree in college.
The remaining funds go to various beautification projects throughout the city of Jenks, such as the club’s ongoing maintenance of the flowers and plants that line Main Street. Recent projects include creating flower beds at Jenks Fire Station #2 and at Veterans Park, says Karen Meyer, past co-president and four-year club member. Next in the club’s plans is to add two covered picnic tables at Veterans Park.
The Herb and Plant Festival also offers gardening education opportunities for both seasoned and new gardeners, such as providing information about new plants and how to care for or use plants that people already own.
This focus on education stems from the club’s interest in educating its members on new gardening trends, such as hydroponics. The club is currently planning to tour a local hydroponic farm to learn about the process. “We are always looking at the newest, most innovative trends in gardening,” says Migliore, who has been a club member for 15 years.
Area Master Gardeners will be on hand at the festival to answer questions as well as members of the Garden Club. The club will have a booth set up to answer questions regarding gardening problems or inquiries and will be selling “pass-along plants,” plants that were previously planted in another person’s garden.
The purpose of these plants is twofold, says Migliore. “It can be to share an unusual plant and to sell a hearty plant that is tried and true because it’s already been grown in someone else’s garden.”
Grahlman, who has been involved with the festival nearly since its inception, remembers its beginnings when “it was just a few card tables of fresh veggies in a parking lot north of Main Street,” she says.
About seven years ago, the festival moved to Main Street to accommodate its growing amount of vendors and patrons.
“We are to the point that we have to turn away vendors,” Grahlman continues. “We could have more, but we want our vendors to be ones that emphasize gardening and outdoor living.”
“The festival brings so many people to Jenks who wouldn’t normally come to the city,” Meyer says. “It’s a fun event. I can’t imagine Jenks without it.”
On the morning of the festival, Kiwanis Club members will begin serving pancakes at 7 a.m. at Jenks United Methodist Church. Additional food vendors will also be found at the festival.
Festival sponsors and supporters include American Waste Control, Banc First, Citizens Security Bank, David Puckett with State Farm Insurance, Harris Chiropractic, Jeff Twilley, Jenks Future Farmers of America, Jenks ROTC, Reverie Skin Care, Tedford Insurance, Triva Thomas, Tulsa Federal Credit Union and Woodland West Pet Resort.