Whether they realize it or not, part of what makes people enjoy a specific location or choose to move to a town can often be attributed to well-kept parks and neighborhoods with clean, neat yards.
June is Perennial Gardening Month, and Tahlequah’s Nasturtium Garden Club members work tirelessly to maintain a couple of public areas in the city, as well as awarding home and business owners for contributing to the local aesthetic.
Local resident Barbara Partak, co-president of the club, is the longest standing member, having been involved for over 20 years.
“Right now, we have about 22 active members, but certainly welcome new ones,” said Partak. “We’d love to have younger members, as many of us are getting older and it’s hard to get all the work done.”
The club maintains all the flower beds in Sequoyah City Park along with the landscaping additions at Tahlequah Public Library. Partak said, in the summer, the club presents four awards to locals each month, including two “Yards of the Month” awards and two “Business Landscape” awards.
Club member Sandy Fitzgerald and Partak are the committee to determine who receives the awards.
“Sandy and I drive around the city, making notes about particular landscaping projects and yards, and then we decide,” said Partak. “The two businesses this month, Bryant’s Doughnuts and Charlie’s Chicken, have done an amazing job.”
Partak said qualifications for the awards are simple.
“They must be neat, clean and well-maintained, and draw people in,” said Partak. “Also, the Yards of the Month must be maintained by the homeowner, not professionally landscaped. We would love to receive suggestions for both businesses and homes.”
Local resident and CARE Food Pantry Director Rebecca Baughman was also a member of Nasturtium Garden Club for many, many years, and appreciates not only the end result, but the work that goes into keeping the city pretty.
“Club members meet in Sequoyah City Park every Thursday morning for a work day,” said Baughman. “They keep all those beds in great condition. They also take care of the public library beds.”
Baughman said the city reaps the benefits from the club’s efforts.
“The city doesn’t have to pay for the countless hours of labor club members contribute,” said Baughman. “Also it from the wealth of horticultural knowledge the members posses about what to plant, when to plant and how best to maintain it. I admire and respect the work the members do, and encourage others to get involved.”
According to Partak, the city provides the grounds work at both sites, and area nurseries get in on the projects, too.
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