Local garden club spruces up Natchez

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 7, 2007

NATCHEZ — The Garden Club of America’s local chapter is helping the City of Natchez live up to its reputation.

In 2004, the Natchez chapter planted crape myrtles and azaleas, among other plants to finalize the completion of landscaping at the Natchez Convention Center. The project was the brainchild of former president, Helen Spencer. And the gift goes on.

“We decided on the convention center because the building had not been there long and we felt it needed plants,” 2004 Garden Club President Helen Spencer said.

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The garden was a tremendous gift from the garden club, costing them $5,000. All of the money used to fund the garden came from dinner parties, auctions and club dues within the club.

The garden club worked closely with Tourism Director Walter Tipton in creating an agreement with the city to maintain the plants, because the garden club provided them. Bill Garbo and Duncan Morgan helped landscape the gardens with the input of the club. The ladies wanted to add to the garden, but the money was limited.

“We really worked hard on it,” Spencer said.

It’s the agreement with the city that keeps the flowers blooming today. Betsy Feltus and Margaret Punches were co-chairmen for the project.

“I am very proud of Natchez and I believe in the community working together to beautify the city,” Feltus said.

The ladies believe the garden is essential to the city.

“Anytime you beautify a spot in the middle of a city, it’s uplifting,” Punches said. “It has turned out to be a real bright spot.”

“It was a project we enjoyed doing,” Spencer said.

“The garden club does a lot of good things,”Punches said.

The local chapter has planted roses in the cemetery, created rose gardens on the Stanton Hall grounds, planted crape myrtles downtown and battles pollution in the Mississippi River.

Feltus believes the project achieved more that just a garden.

“By the city and citizens working together, we accomplished a project that made our city more attractive,” Feltus said.