Fallbrook Garden Club celebrates 85 years at March 29 meeting

Jim Zemcik, an internationally known geranium (pelargonium) breeder whose hybrids are available in Europe as well as North America will speak to the Fallbrook Garden Club on March 29.
Jim Zemcik, an internationally known geranium (pelargonium) breeder whose hybrids are available in Europe as well as North America will speak to the Fallbrook Garden Club on March 29.

FALLBROOK – The Fallbrook Garden Club, Inc. was started March 26, 1931 with 14 members and dues of 5¢ per meeting. It was one of 23 original members of the garden club federation in California. Six of the charter member clubs (including Fallbrook Garden Club) remain active in California Garden Clubs, Inc. (CGCI).

Their community projects include collecting pocket change for Penny Pines which began in the 1950s for restoration work in Cleveland National Forest, San Diego County; the club’s first college scholarship was awarded in the 1970s for students pursuing degrees in horticulture or agricultural related fields of study; and for more than 20 years, volunteers from the club have staffed a free after-school enrichment program at La Paloma Elementary that teaches nature-related ideas and skills to kindergarten through sixth grade students.

La Paloma has two large gardens that total 8,800 square feet and are planted with roses, herbs, vegetables, fruit trees, and perennials that the Monarch and Gulf fritillary butterfly species depend on. In 1994, the club installed and dedicated a Blue Star by-way marker in the Village Square. Members enjoy a large variety of study groups, tours and field trips, and workshops.

All are invited to join club members on Tuesday, March 29, for an exciting program on geraniums which is the club’s flower.  The guest speaker is Jim Zemcik, a San Diego native, and an internationally known geranium (pelargonium) breeder whose hybrids are available in Europe as well as North America.

Many of Zemcik’s new plants are introduced in conjunction with the Marston House Museum in San Diego’s Balboa Park. He is very active in working with the park department to provide large geranium plantings throughout the park and has introduced a series of plants named after San Diego luminaries who were instrumental in the creation and development of Balboa Park. These include ‘George Marston,’ ‘Kate Sessions,’ ‘John Spreckels,’ and ‘Anna Gunn Marston.’

His series of virtually pest-free geraniums have become the official flower of many California cities. These include: ‘Santa Maria Centennial,’ ‘Huntington Beach Centennial,’ ‘Lompoc,’ ‘Chula Vista Centennial’ and ‘Hidden Jewel’ (the logo of the City of Villa Park). His Balboa Park 2015′ was the Balboa Park signature plant for its 2015 celebration.

The March 29 meeting is at the Fallbrook Community Center, 341 Heald Lane. Guests are always welcome, social time and refreshments is 12:30 to 1 p.m.; the business meeting is 1 to 2; and the program 2 to 3 p.m.

To learn more, visit www.fallbrookgardenclub.org.

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