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Garden Club of Danville springs back into action

March 28, 2007|STEPHANIE SCHELL

When the weather warms up, the Memorial Herb Garden and the Governor's Circle in Constitution Square sprout new life.

Most of the herbs and flowers come back each year on their own, but it takes a group of dedicated gardeners to keep it clear of weeds, and to make sure everything is healthy and growing well.

Members of the Garden Club of Danville gladly take on the work - or enjoyable hobby, depending on how it's viewed.

"It's nice," said Terry Taylor, co-president of the club with his wife, Linda. "All the members take turns."

The Mary Akin Memorial Kitchen Herb Garden was started in 2004. It's named after a longtime member of the club. It sits next to Grayson's Tavern in Constitution Square.

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Taylor said it was started from scratch, and members planted herbs native to the time period. They did it just like they would have in those days, too - down on their hands and knees, digging in the dirt.

"Some (herbs) aren't used much anymore," said Linda Taylor.

Herbs harvested

Many of the herbs that grow there still are used today for herbal medicinal treatment, flavoring and cooking. They harvest what they grow, and usually give away the product.

Some of the more popular herbs grown are chives, fennel, honeysuckle, lavender, rosemary, sage and thyme. Examples of the more dated ones include comfrey, hollyhock, nasturtiums and tansy. In the day when most of these herbs were the norm, families couldn't go to the local grocery store and pick up a bottle of horehound. They grew it in their backyard, and picked the herbs themselves.

"Herbs aren't spectacular," Terry Taylor said. "They're just green things."

Day lilies planted around the Governor's Circle help spruce up the area a little more than "just green things." But for the most part, herbs don't sprout blooms. Some do, though. Recent improvements to the herb garden include a time-period trellis at the entrance and markers that identify each herb.

A more eclectic garden that the club cares for, Terry Taylor said, is the garden at McDowell Place Assisted Living Facility. The garden sits behind the building, and is mostly cared for by residents of McDowell Place. However, members of the garden club check in every once and awhile to make sure it still is in good condition.

That is pretty much what the garden club is all about, Linda Taylor said - starting a garden and invoking interest in others to maintain that garden and learn about gardening for themselves.

Club members plant a tree each year on Arbor Day as well. This year they will adjust their planting schedule to coincide with the tank that will be moved to the Veterans Memorial at Millennium Park. Another group is going to plant flowers around the old tank, and the Garden Club of Danville is going to plant a tree in the area at that time.

More the merrier

The club has 58 members, which Linda Taylor said is great. They even have a few men in their club, which is becoming a not-so-taboo thing anything more, she added. Danville Garden Club has been recognized as one of the few garden clubs in the nation that still is growing in membership.

The club is able to maintain its gardens, continue its club status and help beautify Danville through only membership dues and donations.

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