The Mills College Garden Club provides students with an opportunity to connect with the botanical garden on campus.
According to Ann Prentiss, the Mills Garden Club adviser and garden coordinator, there are seven different sections of the garden, each with its own set of club members that tend to their part of the garden. The sections are themed and include edibles, Native American women’s healing, cactus and succulents, native California meadows, and propagation, and the groups meet at various times throughout the week.
“I want to make it convenient for students to work in the garden whenever I’m here,” Prentiss said, adding that she is currently working out the hours she will be in the garden.
Every morning, Prentiss sends members emails, which she calls Garden Notes, containing garden trivia and recounting what happened in the garden the day before, as well plans for the day and her availability.
The Garden Club recently participated in the Mills College Holiday Craft Fair, selling handmade soaps, teas, and sachets, which were made by members of the club as well as those outside of the club, according to Prentiss.
Sophomore Joss Ferguson was one of the members who participated in the craft making.
“It takes a lot of work to grind and pick the plants correctly, but that made it even more satisfying,” Ferguson said. “Also, your hands smell like hummingbird sage or lavender the rest of the day.”
Prentiss hopes to hold events including lunches in the garden with music performed by Mills students, and art exhibits featuring student work.
“The garden is a great place to build community,” Prentiss said. “There is just something really magical about a garden that unites people.”
Prentiss also hopes to be able to allow students to work in the garden even when she is not present.
“I do not like to have restrictions on myself, and I do not want to put them on other people,” she said.
Prentiss emphasizes that there is no commitment when you join the Garden Club; students are welcome to come by the garden whenever it fits their schedule, for any length of time.
“School is very demanding, and the students’ studies have to come first,” Prentiss said. “I do not want them to feel like this is another obligation they have, I want to be a respite for them.”
Ferguson, who signed up for the women’s healing and native plants sections, joined the club after participating in some of the events put on by Prentiss.
“I joined because it was soothing to be surrounded by plants and have all of your attention going into helping something grow,” Ferguson said.
Students can become involved in the club by sending an email to Prentiss.
“My whole goal is to just get people in the garden,” Prentiss said.