Master Gardeners donate handmade holiday centerpieces to local groups

Provided photos from Orleans County CCE: Finished centerpieces are ready to be distributed.

Posted 8 December 2020 at 11:30 am

Press Release, Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension

Master Gardener Brenda Radzinski holds a finished centerpiece Saturday.

KNOWLESVILLE – Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension kicked off the holiday season with a series of small wreath-making classes open to the public last week.

Typically the class has extra greenery that is usually composted or taken home by volunteers for their own holiday décor. This year, however, Master Gardener vice-chairperson Janelle Flammger thought those leftover greens could be used in a better way.

“We talked at our meeting about how this holiday season would be different for so many people and how we could give some people a little boost,” Flammger explained. “I thought why not use the leftover plant material from wreath-making to make centerpieces that we could donate.”

Most years the Master Gardeners have a holiday party in December to celebrate another successful year of fun and educational programming. With the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing restrictions, the entire season of their typical programming was cancelled.

This year, instead of their usual holiday party, the volunteers decided to get together to make holiday arrangements and gift them to various organizations. And so, this past Saturday, with cheerful holiday music playing in the background, six Master Gardener volunteers gathered at Orleans County CCE to get creative and spread a little joy.

“This is such a fantastic way for our volunteers to really support their neighbors in a festive and heartwarming way,” said Katie Oakes, coordinator of the Master Gardener volunteer group and Horticulture Educator at Orleans County CCE. “And so many of our community members were impacted by the pandemic this year, especially those in medical or long-term care facilities. We realize that everyone’s holidays will look a little different this year, and our volunteers just wanted to spread a little cheer in whatever way they can.”

Oakes reached out to the Orleans County Office of the Aging Director Melissa Blanar for ideas of locations to donate the centerpieces to. In addition to Medina Memorial Hospital and Orleans County’s two resident nursing and rehabilitation centers (Oak Orchard Rehabilitation in Medina and The Villages in Albion), volunteers donated festive arrangements to Supportive Care (formerly Hospice of Orleans County), long-term adult care facilities, and congregate meal sites at various locations in the county.

Orleans County CCE staff and all of our dedicated volunteers are wishing all the residents of Orleans County a safe and happy holiday season.

Master Gardener Nancy Halstead used fresh pine and fir branches to create one of the centerpieces.

This centerpiece was delivered to Supportive Care of Orleans in Albion.