Replacing old trees and planting new ones has become a mission of the Sand Hills Garden Club, which is involved in three tree-canopy projects.
The projects, two local and one national, are part of larger projects by garden clubs throughout the city and country to plant trees in areas where they are needed.
“The Garden Club of Georgia and the Garden Club of America are committed to partnering with community organizations to focus on the tree-canopy projects,” said Bonnie Thurmond, chairwoman of the Centennial Tree Program through the Garden Club of America and a member of Augusta’s Sand Hills Garden Club.
Two projects – the Centennial Tree Program and Trees for Augusta – began simultaneously around 2009, Thurmond said. The Centennial Tree Program was initiated by the Garden Clubs of America in an effort to get its member clubs, which total 200, to plant trees in their local communities as part of the national organization’s 100th anniversary in 2013.
Trees for Augusta began about the same time as an effort to replant or plant trees in blighted areas of the city.
Sand Hills Garden Club decided to participate in both programs and is using its work with Trees for Augusta to satisfy the request by the Garden Clubs of America.
“Tree canopy projects are occurring all across the country,” said Thurmond. “In addition to the local tree-canopy programs, the centennial celebration includes refurbishing an entrance to Central Park in New York City. They are planting 8,000 daffodil bulbs this fall, along with trees and enhancing the entrance by realigning paths and benches, as well as improving landscape drainage in the area.’
Locally, Sand Hills Garden Club members have planted 10 crape myrtles and seven Chinese pastiche trees along the north side of Jones Street as part of its involvement with Trees for Augusta, which is a group trying to enhance tree areas in downtown Augusta, Thurmond said.
Money for the trees was donated by Sand Hills Garden Club and the board of directors of Trees for Augusta.
“A second project is partially complete,” said Thurmond.
“Eighteen sugar maples and 12 dogwoods have been planted along Henry Street.”
The Augusta Council of Garden Clubs also has a tree-canopy project. Sand Hills Garden Club member Mickey Goodwin sits on the board for that project.
Thurmond adds that the tree-canopy projects, which also include the planting of trees at the Martinez Post Office by several master gardeners, have involved all of the Sand Hills Garden Club members.
“Sand Hills Garden Club is completely involved,” she said. “All of our members have donated money to Trees for Augusta and for the Augusta Council of Garden Clubs to use.”
Replacing old trees and planting new ones is vital to any community, Thurmond said.
“Trees are basic to our survival,” she said.
“They provide oxygen and absorb pollutants and are part of our history. Trees enhance wildlife, offer shade, protection and help control erosion. They are part of our landscape, gardens and homes. Trees are subject to winds, tornadoes, fires, floods and age.”