The rainy spring has created challenges for gardeners in the Southeast and that is also true at the Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach where volunteers look after the weeding and planting. 

Elsie Kathler with the Steinbach and Area Garden Club says they managed to get a dozen volunteers together this week during a brief period of sunshine. The crew made quick work of tackling various gardens and flowerpots. 

“There’s a lot of edging that needs to be done, lots of weeds that need to be picked out and a lot of maple trees that are growing, little itty-bitty ones all over the place,” she says. “So, we’re getting those all under growing and that’s exciting.”

Elsie Kathler uses an edger on a flower bed.Elsie Kathler says it's never this difficult to arrange for spring clean-up at the Mennonite Heritage Village. With the frequent rainy days, they have had to reschedule plans to clean gardens and flower beds, more than once.

Kathler says they had to reschedule the weeding work-bee a few times, but they finally got the job done.

There are some areas that are easier to clean up than others. Kathler says the weeds need to be handpicked from beds that have a cover of woodchips because garden tools can’t really be used in those areas. 

While the weeds have been cleared for now, more work will be needed throughout the growing season. 

“The museum’s divided into three zones, so people volunteer to weed once a week, or as frequently as they would like. If they could come all summer, that would be great. Last year, we had almost 30 people that were involved with not only deadheading and weeding, but also watering. Watering is done three times a week.” 

Anne Peters uses tools to clean up the edge of a flower bed.Anne Peters has been a member of the Steinbach and Area Garden Club for nearly 25 years. She continues to be an active member, helping with community projects through the club.

They had hoped to be planting today, but that has now been postponed to Tuesday evening. It has never been quite this challenging, she says with a laugh.

Kathler notes you do not need to be a member of the garden club to volunteer.

If you’d like to help with planting, weeding, and watering, just contact the museum and let them know. Kathler says the garden club will return all phone calls. You can also reach the club through their website. 

Todd Stefanyshyn digs up the edge of a flower bed.Todd Stefanyshyn is a fairly new member of the Steinbach and Area Garden Club. He was one of 12 volunteers who spent Wednesday evening at the Mennonite Heritage Village to pull weeds and clean up the edges of the flower beds. Stefanyshyn says being a member of the club is a great way to experience the community and to meet people.