Grassroots effort puts Solana Beach Garden Club back in bloom

Resident Donna Golich gardens on the Coastal Rail Trail on a recent Thursday, a task she has done weekly since the trail’s creation. Photo: Katie Pelisek

By Claire Harlin

When the Coastal Rail Trail was built about a decade ago, a local group that called themselves The Seaweeders took it upon themselves to beautify the path’s northern and southernmost parcels, each about 100 feet long. The group kept up the trail for several years before members slowly parted ways, but when the decision was made to give those parcels back to the city for maintenance, longtime resident Donna Golich couldn’t stand to see them both go.

Golich, a gardening enthusiast who has lived in Solana Beach for 50 years, took it upon herself to maintain the southern section of the trail — and still to this day, she goes out to the trail every Thursday starting at 1 p.m., weather allowing, and spends a couple hours weeding, pruning and planting.

Golich usually does her gardening solo — because she just loves it — however, she said it’s a little more fun when someone joins her to help. And lucky for her, about 40 residents have come out of the woodwork to form a new and revived Solana Beach Garden Club, and the group is already making progress in the city with projects such as the March 2 beautification of the train station property at the corner of Lomas Santa Fe Drive and North Cedros Avenue.

“We all got nice and dirty putting mulch around, pulling weeds and cutting back plants,” Golich recounted of that Saturday volunteer gathering, in which more than 60 people came out to help. “This was one of the first things on the to-do list.”

The revival began with local landscape architect and longtime resident Katie Pelisek, who said she had always wanted to be part of a garden club. Last May, Pelisek and about a handful of other interested residents got together with the common goal of beautifying the then-overgrown Lomas Santa Fe highway interchange, and they started meeting at 7 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month (except August) at the Center For a Healthy Lifestyle, located at 533 Lomas Santa Fe Drive.

Since then, the group has completed several other gardening projects, formulated its mission statement and held about nine meetings, steadily gaining members. But it was the last meeting — which was promoted by an announcement in this newspaper and an eBlast from the City of Solana Beach — that really helped the group gain traction. They had 12 new members at that February meeting, bringing their membership up to about 40, Pelisek said.

The group will feature a garden photography expert presentation in April and floral bouquet arrangement demonstartion in May.

For more information about the club, contact Pelisek (619) 991-3119.