Community support, kindness factor into revival of greenhouse
The Men's Garden Club of Youngstown sows more than flower seeds.
By GAIL WHITE
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- When The Men's Garden Club of Youngstown opens the doors at the MASCO greenhouse on Bev Road for its annual plant sale Thursday, its members will be selling more than flats of flowers and vegetable plants.
These beautiful blossoms have been fertilized with a generous helping of lovingkindness and community support.
In December, the Men's Garden Club of Youngstown noticed the greenhouse at MASCO was no longer being used. In need of a bigger facility to grow plants, the club approached the county's Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Board.
"It is through the generosity of the MRDD board that realized this opportunity for community involvement," said Ray Carroll of the garden club.
Dick Ranshaw, the building director for the MASCO Workshop on Bev Road where the greenhouse is located, believes it is the generosity of the garden club that has been remarkable.
"Our hats are off to this organization," Ranshaw said. "These fellows have been better than their word in this venture. They have gone beyond what we expected."
Originally the club was going to clean out the greenhouse, which MASCO had been using for storage, and use the facility to grow the flowers for its annual sale.
"They renovated the landscaping outside," Ranshaw said. "Over 100 of our clients were here for a tree dedication on Arbor Day." The men's club donated a tree for the occasion.
The men's next project is to get the raised gardens in the MASCO courtyard ready for clients to plant gardens of their own.
But perhaps the greatest benefit the Youngstown Men's Garden Club has provided has been to the clients of MASCO.
Look of delight
"I like it here," said Linda Dinardo of Boardman as she sits in the greenhouse, beaming from ear to ear. The look of delight on her face shows she enjoys gardening as much as the master gardeners from the garden club.
"Linda was a full-time greenhouse worker until it closed down," explains Bobbie Stubler, a workshop specialist at MASCO.
Thanks to the club, Dinardo has the wonderful feeling of dirt between her fingers once again.
"I put the dirt in and put the flowers in," she explains of her work.
Of the 33,000 plants the garden club will sell next week, Dinardo was responsible for planting more than a thousand impatiens.
"She sat all day and planted plugs," Carroll said of Dinardo's involvement. The group was amazed at her tenacity, and pleased that she shares the same love of gardening they do.
"This is a win -- win for both parties," Ranshaw said of MASCO's working relationship with the club. "We could not be happier with this arrangement."
Garden club member John Schinker of Boardman said with laughter, "Not everybody's happy. A client came in one day and started firing everybody. 'You're not working fast enough,' he said, 'You're fired!'"
The whole group chuckled, remembering the day. "We told him that everybody he fired, he would have to do their work. He never fired anyone else," Schinker said.
Listening to the story, Ranshaw responds, "I cannot say enough about the demeanor in which these men conduct themselves."
Garden club member Joe Alessi of Youngstown said he "never realized what an important job is done here until we started working here."
Echoing Alessi's sentiments, Carroll looks at Dinardo, sitting blissfully in her greenhouse haven.
"That's priceless," he said, his voice filled with both humbleness and pride.
XThe Men's Garden Club of Youngstown will hold its annual plant sale from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 19-21 at the MASCO Greenhouse, 825 Bev Road, Boardman.