Local garden club wins national, state awards

Spirit of the Woods Garden Club won state and national awards for their work beautifying the gardens at the Manistee County Medical Care Facility. (Courtesy photo)

By Scott Fraley

Staff Writer

MANISTEE — The Spirit of the Woods Garden Club has been recognized for their efforts in making Manistee a more verdant place.

The National Garden Club (NGC) awarded the Spirit of the Woods a first place certificate in recognition of the group’s “community beautification” project revamping the therapy garden at the Manistee County Medical Care Facility. The certificate was awarded April 30 at the national garden convention in Mississippi.

Before the Spirit of the Woods could compete for national recognition they first had to win awards at both the district and state level.

“We were in competition against all fifty states,” said Spirit of the Woods member Kathy Johnson. “You don’t win these very often.”

For nearly a decade, Spirit of the Woods volunteers have helped maintain the garden situated behind the not-for-profit nursing home.

Johnson described the therapy garden as “a quiet place where families are able to bring their loved ones to sit or stroll, enjoying the birds, butterflies, wind chimes, garden décor and the everchanging colors and textures.”

Spirit of the Woods was awarded $5,000 in grant money by the Little River Casino Resort (LRCR) in 2017 to help fund the therapy garden project.

According to LRCR player development manager, Chad Eckhardt, “the goal was to remove most of the plant material from the center island portion of the garden, keeping two trees, tall grass, the flag pole and boulder at the east end of the garden and the rose bushes at the west end. A secondary goal was to add nutrients to the soil as needed along with apply grass and seed in the area as well as clean and trim the edging and mulch the perimeter garden beds.”

The project was planned by the groups’ volunteers, landscape design and gardening consultants, the medical care facilities’ staff and Larsen’s Landscaping & Lawncare.

Plant removal, site preparation and seeding was done by the landscaper. Garden club members removed excess growth and replanted the grounds.

Spirit of the Woods Garden Club continue to provide volunteers weekly during the spring and summer months in order to maintain their landscape.

In addition to the therapy garden, Spirit of the Woods manages several other gardening projects throughout the growing season around Manistee county.

Meetings for the Spirit of the Woods Garden Club are held the second Monday of the month from April to December at Oak Grove Hospitality Center at 309 Parkdale Ave. in Manistee. For additional information, contact Sandra Hosman at (231) 233-2457 or Beth Markowski at (616) 401-3387.

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