New club completes first service project

Thursday, June 5, 2008
Beautification project completed at ER Firestation The Rocky Soil Garden Club completed a community beautification project at Eagle Rock Firestation #1 this year. Members grew a variety of flowers in the club's greenhouse, which is located at the Eagle Rock Community Church, and transported the plants to flower beds at the firestation. Pictured above, in the front, is: EJ Adams, master gardener consultant. Back row, from left, are: Vera Weston-Draper, fundraising coordinator; Akemi Jones, public relations officer; Stephanie Wennstedt, president; and Steve Gash, full-time firefighter. Absent from the photo are club members Connie Judge and Phyllis Lyon and Kathy Langos, treasurer. Democrat Photo

The Rocky Soil Garden Club, which is based in Eagle Rock, has completed its first community service project. The club members planted a variety of flowers at Eagle Rock Firestation #1.

"This is our first major project," said Stephanie Wennstedt, club president. "At our first meeting there was a woman who mentioned that we should think about doing some beautification projects. We spent time in prayer and were led to do our first project here.

"We felt this would be a good way to share with our community and help and honor our firemen and first responders for what they do for us," said Wennstedt.

The Rocky Soil Garden Club, which is named after the rocky soil of southwest Missouri, began nearly a year ago when several local women began to share personal gardening stories.

"I am a novice gardener," said Wennstedt. "After I moved here around three and a half years ago, I began to talk with people about their landscaping. Several different ladies who I talked to had the desire to start a novice garden club."

The women received permission to host their monthly meetings at the Eagle Rock Community Church, which is located at the intersection of Highway 86 and Farm Road 1215. Meetings are held at 10 a.m. on the second Tuesday of the month during September, October, November, December, January, February, March and April.

"We cover a variety of topics at our meetings," said Wennstedt. "We try to learn from each other by discussing things that work in the Ozarks.

"The club is open to those who know absolutely nothing about gardening and those who have a lot of gardening knowledge," said Wennstedt. "We just want to share easier ways to do things. We come with the same passion for learning."

Club members are open to any knowledge that can be offered and invite experienced gardeners to attend meetings to share gardening information.

"It's fun getting to know people and building friendships," said Akemi Jones, public relations officer. "Plus, it gives you a good feeling when you are able to do things for the community."

Last year, a greenhouse was donated to the Eagle Rock Community Church for the Rocky Soil Garden Club. Members were able to use the greenhouse to grow plants for the Eagle Rock Firestation project. Plants were also donated to the Eagle Rock Community Association.

"The greenhouse is totally operable and set up to allow us to start doing a whole lot more for the community," said Wennstedt. "We hope to start growing plants in the fall for next year."

In addition to regular meetings and community service projects, club members enjoy participating in a variety of special events throughout the year.

In December of 2007, the club hosted a Christmas brunch that featured guest speaker Brenda Beck, of For the Birds in Cassville. Beck shared information on winter bird feeding.

Several other brunches and field trips are scheduled to be held this summer, including a "Garden Tea," which will be held at Persimmon Hill Berry Farm at 10 a.m. on June 19. For more information on this event, call 417-779-0006.

"God has taken our gifts and brought us together, and we hope He'll bring more," said Wennstedt. "We can be more and do more in the community with new members."

Individuals interested in joining the Rocky Soil Garden Club should call Wennstedt at 271-0342 or Jones at 417-858-1400.

The Rocky Soil Garden Club has received donations and assistance from a variety of organizations and businesses, including: For the Birds, True Value Hardware, Wal-Mart Supercenter, TH Rogers Lumber and Hutchens Construction, all of Cassville; Barton's Supply and Table Rock Landscape, of Shell Knob; Smitty Iron Works, Eagle Rock Community Church and Oak Hill Gardens, of Eagle Rock; True Value Hardware and SunFest Grocery, of Holiday Island, Ark.; Wal-Mart, of Berryville, Ark.; and Mr. Buzz Hammond, of Golden.

Individuals or organizations interested in supporting the club can call Vera Weston-Draper, fundraising coordinator, at 271-0404.

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