News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sisters Garden Club adapts to restrictions

For 33 years, the Sisters Garden Club has been helping introduce residents to the joys of gardening without a frost-free date and surrounded by critters who love to nibble what has been carefully planted by hopeful gardeners.

The past year has been unlike any other for the members, with COVID-19 restrictions on in-person meetings and the cancellation last summer of the annual Quilts in the Garden Home and Garden Tour.

Again, this summer, due to uncertainties regarding COVID-19, the Home and Garden Tour has been canceled. But, as their poster says, they will be back in 2022 with a grand Quilts in the Garden Tour of outstanding gardens and homes in Sisters Country.

The tour began when Jean Wells Keenan, founder of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, suggested having a garden tour to provide another activity for the quilters to enjoy. Next year, 2022, the Garden Club will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the garden tour.

The Sisters Garden Club was started in 1988 by 13 residents who wanted to help beautify the city and share the knowledge and love of gardening. Membership has reached as high as 100 in the best of times and settled at 80 during COVID. Dues are $20 per year for individuals and $30 for families. For 2020-21, no dues have been collected due to inability to offer normal activities and meetings.

They usually meet monthly to enhance and share their knowledge of gardening with each other by inviting speakers, providing demonstrations, and discussing other interests for the home gardener.

Over the years, the club has donated over $60,000 to local nonprofits and organizations whose missions align with that of the club. Previous giving has helped support the Sisters Community Garden, the Sisters High School greenhouse, the Sisters Elementary School garden club, and Seed to Table, among others.

The club’s board of directors has found ways to stay connected and engaged with their membership during COVID by providing monthly suggestions for reading and activities. One month, they sent packets of dwarf Teddy Bear sunflower seeds to be planted and enjoyed, encouraging members to share photos of their efforts this spring and summer.

They are undertaking a fundraising project to partially mitigate the loss of revenue from the two canceled garden tours. Using a photo of the quilt created by local fiber artist and quilter Leotie Richards that adorns their poster, they are having a jigsaw puzzle made that will be for sale in a number of local outlets.

Club president Larry Nelson told The Nugget that he has heard from a number of members that if not for gardening, this time of social isolation would have been more difficult. Yet, what they have missed the most is socialization with other members.

When in-person meetings begin again, the public is welcome to attend club meetings. Visit to find the application for membership, the latest copy of the newsletter, and information on club activities.


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