Jan 20, 2013

Versailles Garden Club earns People-Pride-Progress award

VERSAILLES—The Versailles Garden Club has been named this year’s recipient of the Versailles Area Chamber of Commerce (VACC) People-Pride-Progress Award. Many of the club’s members will be on hand at the VACC Banquet on Jan. 21 to receive their award and to honor Deb Pohl as Citizen of the Year.

This award was created in 2009 to honor any local organization that has demonstrated exemplary community service to the Village of Versailles.

The Versailles Garden Club was founded in 1961 by Marcia Rhoades (who is still an active member), Maggie Brewer, Norma Barga, Betty Hole, Arlene Pohl, Lois Roll, Janice Oliver, Miriam Poling, Louise Rhoades and Marybel Weaver. Since its inception the club has always been an active organization committed to making Versailles beautiful.

Each spring the club fills 85 planters throughout the village with colorful annuals for which they have won a district award. The members also maintain the Annie Oakley Memorial near North Star during the months of May thru October and provide “Garden Therapy” to the residents at the Versailles Health Care Center. Together the club members and the residents make floral arrangements which remain with the residents to brighten their rooms and dining room tables.

The Garden Club has sponsored a Flower Show at Poultry Days since 1969, for which they have received a district certificate for “Civic Concern.” In 1999 the club received district, state and national recognition for assisting third grade students in a landscaping project at the old elementary school, which included composting, ground cover, shrubs, flowers, vegetable plants and the use of recycled materials.

The largest project the Garden Club undertook was the $35,000, landscaping project at the new Worch Memorial Library location which earned the Club a district, state and national award. After nine years of hard work and fundraising the completed “reading garden” includes a water fountain, gazebo, trees, scrubs, perennials, stone planters, arches, benches and a donor stone in the shape of an open book.

With no downtime between projects the club agreed to remove the old overgrown shrubs at the Versailles Historical Society and design new beds for plants and flowers. Their designs include architectural stones from the razed two story school building.

The club respectfully sponsors a “Deceased Member Memorial” and also awards a $1000 college scholarship to a Versailles graduate who chooses to study in the field of Floriculture, Horticulture, Botany, or any related field, such as Agronomy, Plant Pathology or even Landscaping Design. And to raise horticulture awareness within Versailles school district the Versailles Garden Club awards the “Garden of the Month” distinction to a local garden during the months of May through October.

The members of the Versailles Garden Club may not have time to “stop and smell the roses” as they are always working on fundraisers to finance their projects. Some familiar fundraisers, past and present, include a Garden Tour, a Holiday Show and Bazaar, an Annual Plant Sale, and Holiday Home tours.

The Garden Club has had numerous community minded members throughout its 52 years of existence and the award will be received with the awareness that every member throughout the history of the Club’s existence has helped cultivate the club into the organization it is today.

The 2013 Officers and Members are Hattie Knapke (President), Chris Lennon (Vice President), Shirley Schlater (Secretary), Joan Ruschau (Treasurer), Rebecca Ahlers, Barb Akina, Susan Ballinger, Terri Bey, Susan Browder, Phyllis Collins, Jenny Condon, Michelle Dircksen, Carol Frey, Sue Leugers, Bev Garrison, Karen Mescher, Ruth Pierron, Marcia Rhoades, Judy Shappie, Shirley Subler, Marge Prakel, and Dena Wuebker.

Versailles Garden Club members Laura Wuebker, Dena Wuebker and Judy Shappie help residents design baskets at Versailles Health Care Center. 

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