by Cindy Pantea
For longer than the existence of Keep Akron Beautiful and their amazing Flowerscapes, the Merriman Hills Garden Club of Akron, Ohio has been well known in West Akron for planting gardens in traffic islands around their neighborhoods. They are a well-respected, 88-yr-old gardening group.
The garden club holds regular meetings and works to educate themselves on gardening through lectures from Master Gardeners and other horticulture specialists. Their club is member of the Garden Forum of Greater Akron.
It has been said by officials of the Merriman Hills Garden Club, according to an August 27, 2009 article in West Side Leader, that their concept of neighborhood flower garden beautification, originating in 1947, played an instrumental role in inspiring Judy Isroff, the first Executive Coordinator of Keep Akron Beautiful. It was Isroff, along with Vince Lobello and then Mayor Roy Ray, who began the beautification and litter prevention agency in 1981, to bring pride back to the City of Akron.
As such, the Merriman Hills Garden Club has been involved since the inception of Keep Akron Beautiful and its volunteer portion of beautification programming, named Adopt-A-Sites.
In the beginning, the Merriman Hills Garden Club planted ten Keep Akron Beautiful Adopt-A-Site gardens. Currently, members plant five.
Dorothy Lepp is our main contact (2011-current) for the Merriman Hills Garden Club. For Keep Akron Beautiful, this simply means that we have one person listed on file as the main person to call for Adopt-A-Site matters. As far as the garden club group is concerned, this lead role means that Dorothy is charged with the ordering of all flowers, organizing the groups of site volunteers, and keeping a watchful eye on all beds to make sure they are properly maintained.
While the group may plant fewer gardens these days due to less help and physical age, many of their established club members are also Keep Akron Beautiful’s most supportive and longstanding volunteers in not only Adopt-A-Site programming but also other areas, such as Beautification Watch Awards, the Dreamscape fundraiser, and Arbor Day, as well as helping with special projects.
The hard work and dedication of the Merriman Hills Garden Club members shows through their striking gardens and we thank them for originating the idea that planted pride in Akron.
Saturday, May 13, the majority of our Keep Akron Beautiful Adopt-A-Site volunteers picked up their flower orders at our office and will soon be planting their 2017 sites. If you see Adopt-A-Site gardens that you love, let us know so we can share with the volunteer groups!