Navy spouse plants idea for gardening club

4 Jul 2011 | Lance Cpl. Victor Barrera

After having received numerous compliments as well as winning Yard of the Month due to her fantastic garden, a military spouse teamed up with Atlantic Marine Corps Communities to offer a gardening club to military spouses interested in making their house more homely.

The garden club, which had its first meeting July 11, is still in its test phase and if the next few months work out, it could become a gathering of green and brown thumbs working to make their homes a better place.

“Being in the military usually means moving from duty station to duty station,” said Jen Owston, a military dependent who came up with the gardening club idea. “That doesn’t mean we can’t make our homes our own even if we won’t always live there.”

During their first meeting, participants talked about what they wanted for the future of the club and also threw around ideas for upcoming meetings.

This month, the club talked about soil and how it greatly impacts the growth of a plant. While Owston is an avid gardener, she admits that she is no professional and looks to the group for insight while sharing as much as she knows.

“I don’t have a green thumb,” said Owston while taking a shot at herself. “I plant dozens of flowers and just hope that some survive.”

The group discussed how to prepare the soil for gardening, what kinds of plants work best in certain soils, how to take care of the soil and many other topics.

Also discussed was how to choose a plant, when to plant spring and fall bulbs and also what to look for when buying a plant from a gardening center.

The group also shared information on various websites and catalogs that had a good reputation as well as low prices.

“There are many different kinds of plants, from drought resistant to fall blooming ones,” said Owston. “Here we can share that information and also point out ‘diva plants,’ which require a lot of time and attention.”

For families that wanted bird baths in their garden, the group learned about how they can prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs in the standing water. They also learned about regulations and what was and was not allowed.

“With support from the people who attend the garden club and some elbow grease, everyone can have their own little patch of heaven,” said Owston.

The garden club’s next meeting will be July 23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Bicentennial Community Center, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. For more information, e-mail