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Garden club honors one of its founders

October 18, 2000

Garden club honors one of its founders



By ANDREA BROWN-HURLEY / Staff Writer


WILLIAMSPORT - Mary Welty noticed the flowers first.

The charter member of the Town & Country Garden Club thought she was expected to plant the purple blooms in one of the three memory gardens she maintains along the Healthy Heart nature trail at Homewood at Williamsport.

The Homewood cottage resident was thrilled Wednesday when she realized that the bouquet rested upon a new plaque-encrusted park bench purchased by club members to honor her many years of dedicated service.

Welty is the last surviving founding member of the garden club, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

"We all have very happy hearts this morning," said club member Ann Dickinson. "We couldn't have done the things we've done over the last 50 years without your expertise."

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Surprised and surrounded by her garden club peers, Welty tested the bench she said she plans to sit upon each evening to listen to birds singing.

She said she never expected to see the 50th anniversary of a club she and three friends founded in 1950 despite their lack of gardening prowess. Their membership in the club fostered both green thumb knowledge and lasting friendships, Welty said.

"I never have met such nice people who became my loving friends," she told the gathered garden club members. "You've got a wonderful future ahead of you."

Welty helped spearhead the effort to transform three acres of flood plain at the retirement center into a bird sanctuary and butterfly garden. The one-fifth mile Healthy Heart Trail winds among shrubs and flowers tended by Homewood residents.

"It was a dream of ours to have a trail for the residents," said Homewood grounds manager Mike Beard, who worked with Welty and fellow resident Ralph Miller to plan the path and gardens. The area opened last year.

In one of her gardens, Welty planted a tree in remembrance of her daughter, Mary, who died of cancer two years ago, she said.

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