by Tina DeSanto

Over the Summer, following the Andes Garden Tour and Community Day, the Andes Garden Club was established. During a time when many of our friends and neighbors had been experiencing the growing pains of our community—so many strangers in town, unfamiliar faces—the timing seemed perfect to establish a group to connect with one another, and share a common interest: plants! The idea for a garden club seemed like a no-brainer, with all of the garden enthusiasts in town.

Our inaugural meeting took place on the first of September during the evening.  We began our event with two guest speakers from Homegrown National Park (, Christina Viafore, and Carla Hegeman Crim, who educated the group about native and invasive plants, with tips and discussion on best practices for our landscapes. We were pleased to welcome 25 people to our first event!  It all came together quickly and seamlessly.  Long-time resident Carol Bloise graciously hosted the event in the Highlands, and executed a most-delightful garden party. Irene DeSanto contributed to the refreshments. Anne Slevin and Ann Roberti supplied an abundance of enthusiasm, support and encouragement to make it happen.  Ella-Grace Duffy created the artwork for our signage, and profile page.

What began as a Summer jaunt for me, turned into a mission to bolster our small community. During my own visits to Andes, the growing transient population was hard to miss. Friends and neighbors were isolated and affected by the unfamiliarity of our town. It was a joy to see members of the community unite and connect at the club meeting. Many of those that attended later thanked me, mentioning that they really felt a genuine sense of community being there, and were happy to spend time with friends that had been separated by the years.

Interested parties that would like to attend our events, host a garden event, or take a more active role in the Andes Garden Club may do so by e-mailing: or scanning the QR code to find our Instagram and Facebook pages. Our next event will be held on October 8th, and will feature a seed exchange and Fall harvest.~