Williamston Red Cedar Garden Club is hard at work, even with end of summer

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Mattie Milne

Catherine Ware, president of the Williamston Red Cedar Garden Club, stands in the Old Mill Park Gazebo, one of the many locations the club maintains. Photo by Mattie Milne

WILLIAMSTON – Although the summer may be coming to a close, this doesn’t mean the Williamston Red Cedar Garden Club is calling it quits for the chilly months ahead.

The club purchases, plants and maintains six gardens owned by the city. These include the gazebo, butterfly garden, Blue Star Memorial, the area around the McCormick Park restrooms and two planters in downtown Williamston.

They also maintain the Williamston Depot Museum and the Williamston U.S. Post Office.

Williamston Mayor Tammy Gilroy said, “They have been very integral with keeping our community very colorful.”

In the cooler months, the 47-member club finds plenty of ways to stay busy when they can’t be outdoors beautifying the city.

“Most people don’t realize that education is a really big part of what we do,” said Williamston Red Cedar Garden Club president Cathie Ware.

The group works with the National Garden Club and the Michigan Garden Clubs to provide the public with presentations regarding garden care, plants and insects. Locally, the club offers several educational meetings. Examples of topics covered include pest control without chemicals and how to better prune trees.

“It’s part of our goal that we have six educational meetings a year and they’re open to the public, as well as to our membership,” said Weaver. “It’s that kind of thing that we do when we can’t get out there and really plant and get dirt under our fingernails.”

The club encourages the love of nature to the youth by hosting a contest where elementary students must create a poster illustrating Smokey Bear or Woodsy Owl.

In addition to hosting a contest for younger students, the club raises money for future undergraduates in fields relating to horticulture. The club sends money to the state and the state provides between 15 to 20 $1,000 scholarships.

In November, the club will be selling wreaths, swags, and grave blankets. In December they are decorating holiday mugs and filling them with greenery and candy. These are given to people in nursing homes and rehab facilities.

Williamston Red Cedar Garden Club is always looking for ways to not only beautify the city but help out the community.

“Things I find most rewarding are new things that we are doing within the club and new ways we have of connecting with the community,” Ware said.

Gilroy says the Williamston Red Cedar Garden Club is just one of the several volunteer organizations in the city that make Williamston such a great city.

“We rely on them. We praise them,” said Gilroy. “We give them the accolades because without those service organizations we’d just be an ordinary community. I think because of all of our service groups that put time and effort into Williamston, it makes us extraordinary.”

Through the organization’s fundraising and volunteering events, Weaver, explains how she has meant so many great community members.

“I love the camaraderie and the fact that I can do anything from maybe getting a new plant somebody shares with me, from getting a tip with what I can do to make the plants I have actually grow, or how I can fight the bug that’s getting my plant down,” said Weaver. “It’s just the being able to rub elbows or shoulders with those who have the same love.”

The club is open to anyone, regardless of one’s gardening experience. There is no Williamston address or attendance requirement. The meetings are held the second Monday of every month. For more details, contact Williamston Chamber of Commerce at 517-655-1549.