At the Sampson County Adult Day Health Care Center, members of the community strolled around garden beds with admiration for the large vines and colorful plants growing from the soil.
It’s a project the Clinton Garden Club is proud of and another milestone during its nine decades of existence. With the snip of a ribbon, the garden project officially opened. For members of the club, the ceremony was considered a double celebration as they marked 90 years as an organization. The motto is “Working together to serve, beautify and contribute to our community.”
Before the garden officially opened, club president Merrie McLamb and historian Judith Griffin spoke about the history of the group, established in 1928.
“We try to live up to that motto in all that we do,” McLamb said. “We also try to honor a special heritage that was left to us by the 90 years of commitment — hard work done by those who’ve gone before us.”
While speaking about the contributions, Griffin said the organization worked tirelessly to make downtown Clinton look attractive, along with other locations.
“Our efforts together have made the area beautiful,” Griffin said.
During the celebration, Mayor Lew Starling said the anniversary and ribbon cutting was a special occasion for the community.
“I’m just glad to see, for lack of a better term, life continues to be breathed into this new facility,” Starling said during an introduction. “I thank you for allowing me to say a few words and I look forward to today’s program.”
The project to commemorate 90 years is the most recent project. It took about a year and a half to complete and was a major undertaking. Some of the work involved planting roses, azaleas and installing an irrigation system. Sampson County Department of Aging is paying for the water. Credit was also given to the Sampson County Veterans Council for putting up a fence several years ago.
“The wonderful part of the club is getting to know new people and working together with the same goals,” Griffin said.
Lowe’s Home Improvement of Clinton provided assistance for an annual service project. Employees built the raised beds and filled them with soil. Lowe’s also donated benches and a pergola, to provide a shaded space. Russell Clark, store manager, was honored with a certificate, along with employee Jeff Burton.
“Lowe’s is always glad to be part of the community and give back as much as possible, whether it’s gardens and raised beds or what we’re doing right now in the community,” Clark said. “We’re glad to be there to help whenever we can.”
Special recognition was also given to member and volunteer April Adermann for her work in the garden and for spending time with clients at the center. Adermann, who attended the ceremony with family members, received a certificate and garden flag.
“She loves all these folks inside, brings things to them and comes out and cares for this garden,” McLamb said. “She has done a wonderful job.”
Employees from the City of Clinton poured cement and donated mulch to spread around the garden. Throughout the year, members will provide maintenance by growing crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and other vegetables.
“We try to put in plants that the Adult Day Care can use and eat,” McLamb said. “It’s a combination of a project where they can come out, weed and work. They can also get vegetables from it.”
Cindy Sessoms, program manager for the Adult Day Health Care Center on Fisher Drive, showed appreciation for the contribution by the club.
“This place out here was just bare and they would just come out here and sit,” Sessoms said. “They have really beautified the center for us and we’re really grateful for that.”
It’s one of several projects preserved by the club. The others are located at the J.C. Holliday Library, downtown Clinton, the Mary Gran Nursing Home gazebo, schools and the Sampson County History Museum. The club also gives an $800 scholarship to a student studying horticulture each year and sponsors a junior group for youths.
“We’re a busy club around this town,” McLamb said.
The Clinton Garden Club is part of the National Garden Club and the Garden Club of North Carolina. Donations for other projects are also made for gardens in the state and other locations. Member Noel Thompson believes the local organization is one of the most productive clubs in Clinton.
“We’re all workers and all the flowers you see from the garden had a hand from the Garden Club,” Thompson said.
Through such efforts, locally and afar, McLamb said the goal is to beautify and educate the community about planting, growing and keeping everything up.
“We’re trying to follow in the steps of all those who came before us,” McLamb said.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.