Redlands horticultural group preparing to meet in person again – Press Enterprise

For generations, the Redlands Horticultural and Improvement Society has worked to enhance the beauty of the city by planting shade and ornamental trees, flowering shrubs and plants. The organization also encourages the love and practice of horticulture through education.

Founded in 1889, the organization now has approximately 200 members. The activities include garden tours through some of Redlands premier gardens, meetings and lectures, and gardening demonstrations. Members maintain the Lawson Sisters Memorial Garden at Prospect Park, contribute to Penny Pines reforestation and donate time to numerous projects throughout the city.

“Our historic structures, Victorian homes, cut stone curbs and gorgeous gardens were, and still are, some of our grandest resources,” said Chris Sedmack, the organization’s president. “Today, the Society continues its goal to increase and enhance the beauty and attractiveness of Redlands.”

Photo 2019 (Left to Right) Shirley Smith, Marisa Crouch, Patty Rue, Gerri Herth, Lani Howard stand around the “Orange Man” art RHIS donated to Prospect Park. (Courtesy of RHIS)

RHIS also focuses on educating the community on horticulture and inspiring adults and children to take up gardening as a hobby. The group donates horticultural literature to the Smiley Library, ensuring there is always a selection of books for beginners and for those ready to take their gardens to the next level.

Engaging youth is a priority and RHIS raises funds to offer grants within the Redlands Unified School District. These mini-grants allow classes to create gardens so that students can learn about gardening while spending time outdoors.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, RHIS has remained dark but is preparing to restart its programming in the fall. The board of directors will be meeting this month to finalize its speakers for monthly meetings. The first meeting will be Sept. 16 at the Church of the Nazarene in Redlands.

The organization plans to feature speakers that will cover many gardening topics. The meetings also provide the opportunity to socialize, including a Christmas and summer potluck.

Members can also participate in an annual bus trip that includes visiting a botanical garden and stopping at various plant nurseries to find new garden treasures.

Members are excited to get back together, Sedmack said.

“Even though we’ve been dark over a year, people are getting so involved in fixing up their backyards and putting in plants and vegetable gardens,” Sedmack said. “The virus has helped people reconnect with gardening.”

RHIS members volunteering as ushers at the Redlands Bowl.(Courtesy of RHIS)

RHIS’s biggest fundraisers are its Garden Tours, Spring Plant Sale and Fall Plant Sale. All of these have been canceled since March 2020.

Recently, RHIS received a grant from the Marcia Ann Ellison Designated Fund through the Inland Empire Community Foundation. The organization, which is entirely volunteer run depends on memberships, activities and donations in order to fund its projects. RHIS raises funds solely to support beautification and educational projects in the city of Redlands.

While the organization has been around for over a century, there are still many in the community who are not aware of the group, according to Sedmack. Members do not have to live locally to join. Active members pay $30 in annual dues to support activities. Membership includes all people residing at one address. Life memberships are available for $350.

Press Enterprise