Last updated: June 01. 2014 10:48PM - 515 Views
Wil Petty jpetty@civitasmedia.com



Members of the Ashe County Garden Club work to improve the landscape outside of the Ashe Pregnancy Care Center on Friday, May 30. Pictured are: Dottie Hamlett, John Jackson and Joan Collins.
Members of the Ashe County Garden Club work to improve the landscape outside of the Ashe Pregnancy Care Center on Friday, May 30. Pictured are: Dottie Hamlett, John Jackson and Joan Collins.
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The Ashe County Garden Club is starting another year of helping improve the landscape throughout the area, but this year is different — they are making themselves known.


“This is really a new kind of chapter in the Garden Club,” said Cindy Escoto, president of the Ashe County Garden Club. “The things (the club) did in the past, they were a little incognito in doing it. It wasn’t quite as involved, but they didn’t have the publicity and interaction with the people.”


Part of the new-found publicity is a push to get more potential members to join and to figure out new ideas for the organization’s future.


The Garden Club has been around for approximately 10 years, with the goal of beautifying Ashe County. This is Escoto’s first year in the club, and first year serving as president.


“This is all done with member dues,” said John Jackson, a member of the Ashe County Garden Club. “We don’t ask for anything from anybody. It is all funded by our dues and pocket money.”


While the plants and landscaping is mostly provided by Garden Club funds, for some projects, local nurseries will donate flowers and other plants for the Garden Club to use.


As spring kicked off and now racing toward summer, the Ashe County Garden Club is working on many different events in the community.


“We only do things during the spring and summer seasons, because of the nice weather,” Escoto said. “We are doing plenty of new things that we previously did not do.”


On Mother’s Day Weekend, the club helped 65 area children at the Farmer’s Market provide potted plants for their mother and on Friday, May 30, the group was helping to beautify the front lawn of the Ashe Pregnancy Care Center in Jefferson.


“It just beautifies our area and makes it feel better and more homely for the girls and the guys that we serve,” said Roger Newton, director of the Ashe Pregnancy Care Center. “That’s the wonderful thing.”


For the Pregnancy Care Center, the Garden Club removed old weeds and dead plants from the front and then placed two flower beds and a tree to greet visitors to the center.


“They asked for help doing it, so part of our mission statement is to be involved in our civic community and beautifying it,” Escoto said. “This seemed like perfect outlet, because they wanted the help and we had the members who wanted to donate their help.”


In the past, the Garden Club has created gardens at the Jefferson Post Office, the Museum of Ashe County History and Mountain View Elementary School. In July, the club will have a booth at the Christmas in July Festival, where a raffle will be held to give away a botanical painting by local artist Jane Johnson.


While the organization has been around several years, it has been something that was not widely publicized. As the group does more for the community, more people in Ashe County are showing their support.


“We get thank you’s from everybody we have helped in the past, but we really haven’t publicized the club very much,” Jackson said. “We have good recognition from our Mother’s Day project. Up to this point until (Escoto) took over, we didn’t have a lot of publicity, we were undercover.”


The group meets monthly from April to November at Smokey Mountain Barbecue in West Jefferson.


People who are interested in joining the Ashe County Garden Club can join the nonprofit’s Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/www.ashecountygardenclub.org/


Wil Petty can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @WilPetty.


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