Landscape beauty takes root at Women Build project in Hagerstown

October 10, 2008|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- By the time Ruth Tinney's family moves into the home being built for them by Habitat for Humanity, shrubs and small tress already will have taken root in the front yard.

Six women from the Town and Country Garden Club dug, planted and watered a variety of sturdy plants Thursday morning as Women Build volunteers installed insulation inside the Habitat house and built a shed behind it.

Organizers hope the home will be ready in time for "turkey in the oven at Thanksgiving," said Pam Meredith, head of the Women Build chapter.

The gardeners chose low maintenance plants for the landscaping at the Concord Street home, said Denise Bowen, president of the garden club.


"We don't expect every homeowner to be as into gardening as we are," Bowen said.

With construction still under way, grass hadn't been laid down in the front yard and it still was a square of dirt. But short, squat shrubs called Abelia, which boast small, pale flowers, flanked each side of the entryway.

In past years, the club has donated money to landscaping projects for Habitat homes, but its members have not chosen the plants or done the planting before, Bowen said.

"We have a lot of young new members who were anxious to do a project like this so they could learn," she said.

Club members, all women, also were excited that the Concord Street house is a Women Build project, Bowen said.

An old walnut tree near the property posed a problem because it sends out toxins that can harm other varieties, she said.

The gardeners chose three different varieties of the evergreen Arborvitae, which they planted along the sides and in front of the home. They spent about $400 on the landscaping, Bowen said.

One member of the garden club donated a Dogwood tree to the home, and all of the members will donate perennials for a perennial garden in back of the home, Bowen said.

The group plans to gather again next Thursday to complete the work.

Ruth Tinney, the future homeowner, also works at the site when she has time between her two jobs, Meredith said. She works in the Bester Elementary School cafeteria and at a local grocery store.

Tinney has lived in public housing for 11 years, and will move into the new home with her two teenage sons.

Tinney and other prospective homeowners must work 500 hours at the site of their home, Meredith said.

o Anyone interested in participating in the Women Build program can send an e-mail to Pam Meredith at or call the Habitat for Humanity office at 301-791-9009.

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