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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tap Into Garden Outreach at Tagawa's

The wonderful folks I work for at Tagawa Gardens aren't the type to toot their own horn. So I've made a command decision, and I'm going to do it for them. Here goes: Tagawa's has the most extensive Garden Outreach program in Colorado, and quite possibly, in the entire country.

And what is "Garden Outreach?" As Tagawa's Garden Outreach Ambassador, I'm glad you asked.

Garden Outreach is Tagawa's way of taking the amazing expertise of our staff, about 700 years total gardening experience among our year-round employees. We combine that with examples of the plants and products we carry and offer the whole package to the community as Outreach.

Schools, church groups, garden clubs, private businesses, service organizations, retirement homes, senior centers... You name it, and my Garden Outreach partner Mary Ann (a.k.a. "Grandma Mimi") and I have done it. We visit many of the places for free. It just depends on the type of organization. Businesses, for example, pay a small fee. With non-profits, there's usually no charge. If you're a 501c3, the trip is on Tagawa's dime. Neat, huh?

What ever do we talk about?

Easy! We demonstrate and talk about pretty much any gardening or nature-related topic you ask for. (I did one time decline an invitation to discuss phytoplancton. Not my strong suit....)

Mimi and I have traveled as far north as Broomfield, as far south as Monument and as far east as the wilds of Elbert County. (I'm crazy about the terrific folks in Elbert County. They couldn't be nicer!)

Garden Outreach programs don't have to be "out." If space is available, we're happy to host interested groups right here at Tagawa's. The work of a garden center will continue around you. There may be a little noise from a load of plants going by, or occasional pages on the P.A., but that's part of the fun! We think of it a genuine garden center ambiance.

Tagawa's Outreach program also has a growing history of helping service organizations raise money through our Garden Outreach Gift Cards. Groups can plan a class or demonstration and sell gift cards at the same time. And it's way easier than organizing a bake sale!

Topics, please....

Okay, I'm going to take a deep breath and list just some of the items from our Garden Outreach "menu." Here goes: Indoor Holiday Plants, Holiday Porch Pots, Holiday Baskets and Decorations, Late-season Container Gardens, Growing Veggies in a Pot, Indoor Herb Gardening, Low-water Gardening, Fairy Gardens (for kids of all ages), Composting in a Worm Bin, Helping the Honey Bees, Coping with Wildlife, and Birds, Bees and Butterflies. The list goes on and on. And we're wide open to "special requests," too. Just ask (as long as it's not about phytoplancton).

Mimi and I also do several classes just for school-aged kids. Good Bugs and "Bad" Bugs, Backyard Birds, Pond Life, Animal Defenders and many more. We can incorporate topics the kids are currently studying at school with "real life" lessons. And for the pre-schoolers, I have a cast of zany puppets that can keep the kids smiling and learning at the same time.

Why do we offer Outreach?

Beth, Tagawa's general manager, is quick to answer: "Tagawa's takes pride in offering the best plants, products and service possible. But we also want to be the best neighbor we can be for our community and our environment. It's a priority!"

Our Outreach Program played a role two years ago in helping Tagawa's become the first Veriflora certified sustainable garden center in the county.

Plan ahead!

We at Tagawa's are proud of the fact that our Garden Outreach Program is proving to be a great success. The enthusiasm we've seen and heard from the groups and organizations we've served comes through loud and clear.

So we take it as good news that groups now need to plan ahead if they want to reserve a particular date on the Outreach schedule. Making the arrangements is easy. The person at the helm of Outreach is Michelle. She can juggle a calendar like no one I've ever known. You can reach her by calling Tagawa's main number: 303-690-4722, extension 107. Ask for Michelle in Outreach or leave her a message. She'll take excellent care of you. She can also fill you in on the Outreach Gift Card can help your group raise money.

Don't be shy!

We'd love to hear from you at Tagawa's. If you're tired of booking the same old topics for your organization, do something different!! Let Tagawa's Garden Outreach program help make your next gathering shine!

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