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Woman honored for garden's glory

October 30, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

Even after years of keeping the Potomac Towers flower garden at peak glory, Jane White said she has never thought of it as hers. Sharing the beauty of nature with others was one of her main goals.

That changed Wednesday morning during a brief dedication ceremony held between the raindrops. The flower beds outside the main entrance of the senior living center on Baltimore Street were officially named "The Jane White Garden" and adorned with a plaque and an angel statue.

"I wasn't expecting this," White said at the conclusion of the ceremony.

White wasn't planning to work in the flower garden Wednesday because it had been raining off and on all day. Still most days, using her walker, she manages to go down to weed and spruce things up.

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The Hagerstown Housing Authority has been providing the plants and gardening supplies while White has maintained the garden free of charge since the mid-1990s.

"I always had flower beds where I lived before I came here," White said. Until 1990, she lived on Howard Street in Hagerstown.

For Wednesday's ceremony, fall mums were provided by the Potomac Towers Neighborhood Watch, according to Phyllis Gorman, president of the group. The housing authority arranged for the plaque and the statue.

White said there had been brilliant fall flowers along the wall approaching the driveway in recent weeks. "But someone came along and cut down those blooms too soon," she said.

After introductions by Ted Shankle, executive director of the housing authority, Arthur Page, a Potomac Towers resident, read a poem entitled "The Spirit of Serving."

While the dedication was a surprise to White, her son, Larry White, was in on the plans and, although unable to attend, sent a card for the occasion.

In his card, White's son remarked to his mother on how he regretted that she would no longer be caring for the gardens. She read that and took issue.

"I'm still going to do it. I'll be going out there as long as I can," White insisted. Indeed she said she would soon be mulching and weeding to get ready for winter - but just not every day.

Joining White at the ceremony was one of her close friends, Pat Gooding. "Jane is the sweetheart of Potomac Towers," Gooding said.

White said she uses the trial and error approach to gardening, staying with what works and getting rid of what doesn't.

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