Garden Club celebrates 80th anniversary

By Jenny White

Staff Writer

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When the Rocky Mount Garden Club recently met at the DoubleTree Hotel to celebrate its 80th anniversary, it wasn’t just gardening that was celebrated.

The club has contributed to the history of Rocky Mount and as the members remembered past projects and past members, they traced a path through memorable milestones for Rocky Mount – plantings at City Lake when it was first established, planters at City Hall, landscaping contributions to various parks and cemeteries throughout the area over the years, scholarships to area schools over the years and numerous other efforts illustrating their devotion to making Rocky Mount beautiful and better.

One of the projects a club member orchestrated in the last year was honored by the National Garden Club. A butterfly garden designed and planted at Faith Christian School by club member Routh Robinson offers a habitat for butterflies and a pretty location on the campus for staff, kids and parents to stop and appreciate a bit of nature.

“It was a labor of love,” Robinson said.

As they recounted projects and celebrated accomplishments, most all the stories centered around friendships between the women and how their love for gardening became a glue that bound them together, in the garden and out.

When Club co-president Sheila Sidway opened the meeting, she recounted how the recent death of her husband had been hard for her, but the cards and little gifts and food from almost every member of the club had lifted her spirits and helped get her back on her feet.

“Almost every day when I would go out to my mailbox, there was something from someone, in this room. It was just wonderful and you all will never know how much it mean to me,” she said.

At the meeting a Proclamation of Recognition of the Rocky Mount Garden Club’s 80 years of service from the City of Rocky Mount was read.

The group meets monthly and either has an education program or gathers to make small “garden therapy” projects.”

“These are little plant and flower gifts we make to pass on to shut-ins or others in need of a little something pretty to pick them up,” said co-president Deb Zavadil

Other gardening projects the club currently works on regularly include the gardens outside the chapel on the campus of N.C. Wesleyan College and a twice-a-year plant exchange for members.