Garden clubs landscape senior center

Nancy HowellSouth Knox

The South Knoxville Senior Center has a new native landscape, thanks to a grant and the efforts of two south Knox garden clubs. The senior center, located at 6729 Martel Lane, just off John Sevier Highway, had a small run-down flower bed which was visible to those driving into the center’s parking lot. With a grant from the Tennessee Federation of Garden Clubs, the Chapman Highway Garden Club and the Lakemoor Hills Garden Club collaborated to work on enlarging the planted area and populating it with mostly native pollinators.

“We began planning the project in February, getting plant ideas from various members of our two clubs,” said Nancy Howell, president of the Chapman Highway club. “We wanted to add plants that could tolerate hot, dry conditions of a Knoxville summer.” John Bradley, president of Lakemoor Hills, said the plant selection was an important part of the project. “Many species were chosen for their heat and drought tolerance, which was particularly important, since the garden area is located in front of a large, south-facing glass wall.”

First steps were to re-draw the garden boundary and remove old plants, landscape timbers and weed barrier plastic, as well as weed-infested mulch and invading Bermuda grass. After soil testing, organic topsoil and fertilizer was tilled into the entire garden area. The groundwork was finished off with a brick edging. Josh Brock at General Shale in Knoxville donated the bricks.

After several work sessions with members of both clubs and agreement on a planting plan, plants were purchased or donated by the garden club members. Approximately 105 plants were installed by garden club members on April 17. A few days later soaker hoses were installed and the area was mulched. A rain barrel with a timer has been added to help keep the garden watered.

Susanne Huff, who took over as director of the center following Janet Ward’s retirement as planting took place, said the landscape adds beauty to the center. “We appreciate the garden clubs working together to create a work of art at the center,” said Huff. “We appreciate all their hard work and dedication.”

Nancy Howell, is president of the Chapman Highway Garden Club and occasional spokesperson for Knox County Master Gardeners


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