Mary Helen Smith describes the 36-member Lady Slipper Garden Club as “a working garden club.” So in addition to learning more about plants for their own enjoyment, the club seeks ways to educate the community and to contribute to beautification projects at schools, non-profits and public spaces.
These women don’t mind getting their hands dirty. Club members have been hard at work recently at the Spartanburg Regional Hospice Home, where they are planting a garden that will be a centerpiece of a major landscaping project behind the facility.
“For patients in the Hospice Home, or those with a loved one in hospice, this is a tough time in their lives. We hope that patients and family members will find it comforting to get outside and enjoy sitting in the garden and being surrounded by nature,” said Smith, who serves with Jan Goldstein as co-chair of the committee coordinating the club’s efforts.
The garden and landscaping project has been several years in the works and will help fulfill the vision planners had in mind when the Hospice Home was designed more than a decade ago. Located near Asheville Highway, the facility was constructed on a piece of property with wooded surroundings – including a trail owned and maintained by the Spartanburg Area Conservancy (SPACE). But grading for the site required the clearing of a good many trees, and plans called for the development and expansion of beautification efforts over time.
“It’s exciting to see this really begin to come together,” said Kim Ross, director of Spartanburg Regional Hospice and Palliative Care. “We want for patients, families, and staff members to experience and benefit from the peacefulness and beauty of nature. We’re so grateful for the Lady Slipper Garden Club and other partners who are making these improvements possible.”
The club has consulted on the project with local horticulture and design experts Kevin Parris and Stewart Winslow.
Once completed, the new garden will feature nearly 200 new native plants and shrubs, with attractive colors on display throughout the year. The club has funded the purchase of the majority of the plants, and some have been transplanted from the yard of well-known local gardener Pat Burton.
Smith says the garden is a work in progress, but she is pleased with how things are taking shape. “I think it’s fabulous. And as the plants age, they will continue to do better and should have a big show that hopefully will be beautiful and calming for patients and their families,” she said.
If you or your organization would be interested in partnering with Spartanburg Regional Hospice, contact Volunteer Manager Kelly Hall at 864-560-5636. To donate to Spartanburg Regional Foundation’s Hospice Special Needs Fund, visit https://regionalfoundation.com/donate-now/hospice/.