MARY KATHRYN CARPENTER / The Natchez Democrat — Lena Bateman, President of the Ferriday Garden Club, stands in front of the Ferriday Flag Park which she, as well as other Garden Club members, has helped keep up as a dedication to the Armed Services.
MARY KATHRYN CARPENTER / The Natchez Democrat — Lena Bateman, President of the Ferriday Garden Club, stands in front of the Ferriday Flag Park which she, as well as other Garden Club members, has helped keep up as a dedication to the Armed Services.

Everyday Hero: Club president digging for more Ferriday gardens, green spaces

Published 12:10am Friday, July 5, 2013

FERRIDAY — Keeping Ferriday’s green spaces beautiful can be backbreaking and thankless at times.

But Ferriday Garden Club President Lena Bateman said her motivation is the end result.

“Anytime you can improve a green space, it makes the town more pleasing,” she said. “It’s nice to have people thank us for our work. I think people are beginning to take more pride in the community.”

The club is responsible for nearly all of the gardening projects in Ferriday, Bateman said. An example of their work is the crepe myrtle trees outside of the Ferriday Police Department.

The Ferriday Garden Club was founded in 1948, but for the last decade Bateman has played a vital role in improving the town’s green spaces, garden club member Sherrill Shasser said.

“She is a pusher,” Shasser said. “She is a great help in getting us organized.”

Bateman is currently in her third term as the president of the club. She has also taken her green thumb to the state level, participating in the Louisiana Garden Club Federation as the first vice-president, second vice-president and other officer positions

Other than getting help when planting gardens, Bateman said the club doesn’t receive help from Ferriday officials.

The club raises money by hosting style shows and hosting auctions. Shasser said the club uses its own garden supplies to complete projects

Bateman Bayou Memorial Park is the club’s crowning achievement.

“I think the park gives everyone a good first impression of the rest of the town,” Bateman said. “We won several national awards for it.”

The park consists of more than 50 flag poles, most of which are American flags. Flanking the sign at the entrance to the park are flags of countries that once governed Louisiana. The park also includes a bird sanctuary and flower garden.

When the ladies of the Ferriday Garden Club aren’t creating new, beautiful green spaces, Bateman said the club tends to previously completed projects.

To help keep the town clean, the club created a golden broom award, which is given to the business with the cleanest storefront in Ferriday.

But Bateman’s passion for plants extends beyond the garden and into the classroom.

She said the club occasionally partners with Planting Pride to complete gardening projects. The group comprises junior gardeners from Ferriday Upper Elementary School.

“When we worked with them at the school, the teachers got out tape measurers and helped them measure distances, so it was fun and a teaching moment,” club member Martha Ivy said.

The club is currently working on two projects to help improve Ferriday’s greenery. The first will place planter boxes inside of Rockabilly Plaza, Bateman said.

“The building is just an empty brick, open building,” she said. “We hope that putting plants inside will help spruce it up a little.”

Bateman said the group also plans to create a memorial flower garden in front of Riverland Medical Center.