By Kristina Houck
If you drive or walk by the Coastal Rail Trail on a Thursday, you might see Solana Beach resident Donna Golich weeding, pruning and planting. When the 1.7-mile Solana Beach portion of the trail was completed nearly a decade ago, she and other locals formed the Seaweeders to maintain the rail easement between the train tracks and Highway 101.
Although garden club members eventually parted ways, Golich continued to maintain the trail. She is now one of the only original members of the Solana Beach Garden Club, which reformed in May 2012 so members could share information, hold garden tours and collaborate on beautification projects in the city.
“I just always wanted to be in a garden club and there wasn’t one in Solana Beach,” said club president Katie Pelisek, who spearheaded efforts to reestablish the group along with president elect Sandy Parish. “I knew there were enough of us to start a club.
“The city doesn’t have money to maintain things, and it’s just good civic pride and camaraderie.”
Now operating under the umbrella of the Solana Beach Civic and Historical Society, Seaweeders has grown to roughly 60 members and accomplished several beautification projects throughout the city. In addition to maintaining the Coastal Rail Trail, the revived club beautified the train station property at the corner of Lomas Santa Fe Drive and North Cedros Avenue, as well as the corner of Highland Drive and Sun Valley Road after the “Yoga Tree” sculpture was installed in February 2013.
“I just think that people need to be outside,” said Pelisek, a 20-year resident of Solana Beach and owner of Pelican Design, a local landscape company. “We live in the most beautiful place in the world.”
“It’s nice to be able to go in there and create something the way you want it to look,” said Solana Beach native Michele Stribling, who serves as the Civic and Historical Society’s garden club liaison.
The club’s primary project this year is to beautify the Solana Beach Post Office at 153 South Sierra Ave. Club members plan to place native plants, create a pathway, and install a bike rack and benches. The project could cost about $5,000, Parish said. The club raised $1,700 for the project during its inaugural poinsettia sale in December.
Volunteers from Solana Beach Presbyterian Church will help club members kick off the project on Feb. 23.
“We just really want to make it something the community can take pride in,” said Parish, who is heading the project.
Club meetings take place 7-8:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month at the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Center for a Healthy Lifestyle located at 533 Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach.
“Members don’t have to live in Solana Beach; we take members from anywhere,” Pelisek said. “It’s just that our projects are focused in Solana Beach.”
“If you love reading, you want to be in a book club. If you love gardening, you want to be with other people who are enthusiastic about gardening,” said Parish, who has lived in Solana Beach for 38 years. “We’re always looking for new members and new energy.”
To donate to the club, send donations to Solana Beach Civic and Historical Society at P.O. Box 504, Solana Beach, 92075. Designate donations to ‘Seaweeders.’
For more information about the club, visit solanabeachgardenclub.org