Women who need the respite and retreating environment that The Lydia Project offers are also greeted with a welcoming entrance full of potted plants and a mediation garden where they can spend quiet time reflecting on their journey.
The flowers and the meditation garden are the work of the Spade and Trowel Garden Club. The project, begun under the direction of immediate past president Fran Weber, recently was completed with the addition of several benches in the garden.
“Women diagnosed with cancer who visit The Lydia Project for help are first greeted by cheerful flowers planted by the club members,” said Michele Canchola, director of The Lydia Project, which provides emotional support and financial assistance to the women. “These joyful and welcoming flowers brighten women dealing with dark moments.”
The landscaper for the garden was Jeffrey Holder of Environscaping, a Grovetown landscaping design company. According to Nancy Lindroth, community service chairwoman for the Spade and Trowel Garden Club, Holder obtained donations and adapted his landscape design to incorporate a few changes the club sought.
“He modified his planting plan to include a bed around the fountain and then installed irrigation there for our annual seasonal plantings,” Lindroth said.
The addition of a fountain in the garden was made possible by a Community on My Mind Grant from the Garden Clubs of Georgia and private donations.
While shopping for benches earlier this year, Lindroth visited Casual Furniture on Washington Road, where owner Donna Gibbs donated two benches valued at more than $900. The benches were installed in the garden last week, as was an irrigation system near the front entrance.
Lindroth and her husband donated a large flower pot in the shape of a woman’s head. Lindroth calls her “Lydia Lady” and used verbena to form live tendrils.
A centerpiece of the meditation garden is a tree that was planted in memory of a Spade and Trowel Garden Club member who had supported The Lydia Project before she became ill with cancer and died.
“What marvels me is the club members’ dedicated ownership of the outside plantings,” said Canchola. “You come to work and see another colorful planting of flowers or a water trail where they’ve watered,
and you know they were here.
“We affectionately call them elves at Lydia. The staff, volunteers and women served are inspired by how much the club members care and how hard they work at making it so beautiful at Lydia.”
Canchola relayed a comment from a recent Lydia guest who said: “They make me smile every time I see them. The flowers remind me of God’s beauty and presence around us.”