The ladies of the Cherokee Rose Garden Club do not like to spend meetings gossiping over hors d'oeuvres.
The Cherokee Rose Garden Club was named Garden Club of the Year by the Augusta Council of Garden Clubs. They perform many civic and charity activities and are very active in most garden-related activities around town.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
They would rather get dirty.
Their love of hands-on gardening and the monthly meeting programs presented by experts and club members contributed to the club being voted Outstanding Garden Club of the Year by the Augusta Council of Garden Clubs, said outgoing council president Pat Slater.
The top three clubs were announced at the awards luncheon at Augusta Country Club on March 19.
"(All the clubs) are outstanding," said Dorothy Packard, Evans resident and club president. "It was a big surprise. They were calling out all the awards and it was getting down to the end. I thought second would be wonderful."
The 25-member club has a waiting list to join, Packard said. Of the current members and two sustaining members, 19 are master gardeners. A lengthy course and lots of volunteer time is required to become a master gardener.
"I think the high percentage of master gardeners in the club sort of galvanizes everybody to go out and get dirty," said member Betty Crowther of Evans.
Every member gets their hands into their own landscapes, Packard said, but individual projects run from volunteer work at local school grounds, the county extension offices, maintaining member's neighborhood entrances, litter pick-up along the bike path and seasonal plantings at the local library to organizing the fall plant swap and entering designs into at local flower shows and the Festival of Trees.
As a group, club members maintain Weaver's Garden at Meadow Gardens behind Walton Rehabilitation Hospital and Augusta Golf and Gardens, where many members serve as docents. The club has formed an American Cancer Society Relay for Life team, unofficially called Flower Power, for the upcoming walk.
In the coming year, Packard said, the club would like to adopt a local nursing home and work with the patients through garden therapy.
"We are always so active doing things that benefit the community in a lot of ways, both individually and as a group," said member Frances Cutting.
Cherokee Rose, with all other Augusta Council member clubs, sent in a president's report of garden club achievements to the state president, district director and Augusta council president. After reviewing the reports from each club, the list was narrowed to a handful and given to an awards chairman, who appointed a committee to determine the top three.
The club's monthly programs, which included such topics as container gardening and lasagna gardening, counted toward the award, as did the 104 birdhouses, 122 bird feeders and 40 water baths the members maintain. Many of the member's own landscapes are certified Natural Backyard Habitats by the Natural Wildlife Federation.
"Most members are so active that lots of what we do just does not seem like projects - it's life," Packard said. "Planting a container that has complimentary specimens to us would be a work of art to others."
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