Garden Club Does Yard Work For Those In Need

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Once the members of the High Country Garden Club are done beautifying their own gardens, they use their skills to help others. In recent weeks, the club began assisting elderly residents with yard work.

Early Friday morning, five volunteers from the club showed up at the home of Olie and Donna Adams in Payson North with rakes, hoes, brooms, garbage bags and more.

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Diane Arnold, chairperson of the cleanup committee for the High Country Garden Club, joins other volunteers early Friday morning at the home of Olie and Donna Adams where the club pulled weeds, raked and cleared brush for the couple.

Within 90 minutes they had the couple's yard free of weeds.

"This is only the second home we've done," said Diane Arnold, who chairs the cleanup committee. "We even found a little pine tree they didn't know they had."

Members of the club nominate the people they feel need help. Mr. Adams is recovering from back surgery.

He was very thankful for the help from the club.

"You don't know how much this means to us," he said.

The first project was in Payson West for a woman who had a number of medical problems for an extended period. It took about six hours over a two-day period, with five people helping the first day and eight turning out for the second day.

The High Country Garden Club was organized in 1997, according to Marilyn Castleman, one of three or four charter members still active with the group.

Initially, the club was part of the Gardeners of America, but broke away to become a hometown club a few years after it started.

There are now about 50 members.

In addition to the help for the elderly, the club members also provide community service by maintaining the garden at the office of the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce and those around the First Southern Baptist Church, at the corner of West Bonita and South Colcord.

"It is where we hold our meetings, so it is in exchange for the space," Castleman said.

For another recent community project, the group handed out seed balls for wildflowers at the Northern Gila County Fair horticulture exhibit.

As for future projects, Castleman said the club members are currently discussing a project with Payson Care Center to create an atrium garden.

The club meets at 7 p.m. the first Thursday of each month at the First Southern Baptist Church. Guests are always welcome. Dues for the club are $20 for singles and $25 for couples, Castleman said.

Castleman said two great speakers are participating in the October and November meetings.

In October, Cayci Vuksanovich of Globe will present a program on houseplants.

"She is a wonderful resource," Castleman said.

November's guest will be Chris Jones with the University of Arizona Extension Service for Gila County. His topic will be pruning, she said.

For more information, call the club president, Lucy Briggs at (928)468-8961.

-- To reach Teresa McQuerrey call 474-5251 ext. 113 or e-mail tmcquerrey@payson.com.

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