Originally created 07/06/06

Garden Club maintains Blue Star site for troops



As Pat Hathaway placed patriotic ribbons on trees at the Blue Star marker on Fifth and Reynolds streets June 20, she paused to think about troops recently killed in Iraq.

"That is why we are doing this," said Ms. Hathaway, a member of the Iris Garden Club, which recently planted four red crape myrtles on the site.

As part of the National Garden Clubs' patriotic tree initiative, the four trees were planted in honor of all American service members. On June 21, garden club members visited the site before having a luncheon.

The Iris Garden Club has had an interest in the location since 1949, when members had a Blue Star Memorial Highway marker placed at the site.

"This is a gateway to our city. It's noticed by a lot of people," Ms. Hathaway said.

Garden club members have planted additional flowers, and the city of Augusta also helps maintain the site. City workers added dusty millers and geraniums at the location this year.

"We cannot thank them enough," Ms. Hathaway said.

Derek Vanover, the assistant director of Augusta-Richmond County's tree and landscaping department, said the club helps the city in many ways.

"This group is a huge catalyst for us," said Mr. Vanover, who visited the site June 21. "They take care and pride in celebrating the area."

Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at czbrackett@hotmail.com.