Garden Week in Georgia: Volunteer @ or Check-out Johns Creek Beautification’s Secret Gardens Tour by Guest Blogger Jennifer Schau

Garden Week in Georgia: Volunteer @ or Check-out Johns Creek Beautification’s Secret Gardens Tour by Guest Blogger Jennifer Schau

If you are interested in a great garden-related volunteer opportunity or a fantastic tour, check out Johns Creek Beautification’s Secret Gardens Tour on May 1, 2021, come rain or shine.

Secret Gardens is a drive-yourself and walking tour of seven homes and the Autrey Mill Nature Preserve. Each stop has its own special, charming features. The tour features a beautiful hillside oasis and beehive fireplace; a woodland garden with a hand-made stone bridge; an iris garden; a creek-side garden; a gated gazebo garden; and so much more.

 Autrey Mill Nature Preserve is home to splendid woodland and butterfly gardens. The preserve has a visitors’ center, farm museum, Summerour cottage, the old Warsaw church, Green Country Store, and a tenant farmhouse. There will be musicians and artists to enjoy as you walk around surrounded by the blooms of spring. When you order your passes, make sure to pre-order a boxed lunch to pick up and enjoy at the preserve. 

 All proceeds from this event support the work of Johns Creek Beautification and are specifically earmarked toward the purchase of public art for the city, landscape beautification projects throughout Johns Creek, and to benefit a massive citywide, daffodil planting effort to raise awareness of cancer survivorship through JCB’s partnership with CanCare.

Interested in helping? As the Volunteer Coordinator for the JCB Secret Gardens Tour, I am recruiting volunteers (ages 18 years and up) to get involved in the community and fill various roles for this event. All volunteers will receive a complimentary pass for the tour (value: $25), so that they can also enjoy the gardens during the hours before and/or after their shift. Go to to sign up. A variety of positions and times are available. Everyone involved in the Secret Gardens of the Johns Creek Community event will be practicing current masking and social distancing guidelines.

Just want to tour? If you are unable to volunteer but are interested in attending the event, passes can be purchased on our website at the the following link

 Questions? If you have questions, email me, Jennifer Schau, Volunteer Coordinator, at




Community Gardening: The Gardens at the Center for Children & Young Adults, Part 2, by Guest Blogger Maureen Lok

Community Gardening: The Gardens at the Center for Children & Young Adults, Part 2, by Guest Blogger Maureen Lok

A team of 7 Master Gardeners volunteer weekly over a ten-month calendar in the garden. They maintained the CCYA Garden throughout the pandemic, being categorized as essential workers and grew over 1,800 pounds of produce to feed the kids during unprecedented times. Currently, with funding from the Food Well Alliance, our part-time garden manager and part-time chef, culinarily trained, maintains the CCYA garden under direction of Master Gardeners and provides continuity of care when Master Gardeners are unavailable. Quarterly, large volunteer groups from local corporations spend a day on campus assisting with a variety of large garden projects that assist the Master Gardeners. Groups from Home Depot, Six Flags and others help us cut down trees, prune all of the existing shrubbery on campus, install fencing, build sheds, spread mulch and more. All of our gardens have irrigation systems providing water for the plants. We are seeking funding for electricity in our hoop house and the chicken coop. We found funding to fortify our chicken coop from predators and build an adjacent aviary where the chickens can free range in safety. Over the past two years, Master Gardeners have been propagating all of our plant seeds. We are seeking funding to purchase a small greenhouse where propagation can occur. Currently, our Master Gardeners do it from their homes.

Master Gardeners work independently from most youth residing on campus as our youth are very busy with school, after school jobs, therapy sessions, daily tutoring and homework. The purpose of the Master Gardener Program at CCYA is to provide fresh produce (fruits and vegetables) to augment the meals that feed all of our youth and staff. At this time, Master Gardeners meet a minimum of once weekly to work in the gardens. Youth who volunteer to apprentice in the garden work under the supervision of our garden manager. They are paid a stipend for their work.

The CCYA gardens,, were part of the 2019 Cobb County Master Gardener Garden Tour. Annually, approximately 500 people visit the CCYA campus including tour groups from corporations seeking charitable outreach. Groups such as the Marietta Rotary Club, Leadership Cobb classes, Eagle Scouts and numerous other organizations provide assistance to CCYA. The CCYA Garden Project along with the CCYA Animal Assistance Therapy Program were finalists in the Harvard University Innovative Therapy Awards and the CCYA Garden Program was featured in the American Horticulture Society’s National Children & Youth Garden Symposium in Los Angeles, California.

Master Gardeners at CCYA are seeking partnerships with area garden clubs to help us maintain the Flower Garden. We would love for some volunteers to come as a group once a year for 2-3 hours (dependent upon number of volunteers) to help weed, dead-head and keep our flower garden looking lovely. The flower Ggrden was professionally installed by High Grove Partners 3 years ago. It is approximately 20 feet x 50 feet. If we could get a garden club to come in the spring, another in summer and another in the fall, we would be ecstatic.

 Anyone interested in helping with the CCYA gardens can reach me via email at: lokme@hushmail.comMaureen Lok, Cobb County Master Gardener/ Past Board Chair The Center for Children & Young Adults

Community Gardening: The Gardens at the Center for Children & Young Adults, Part 1, by Guest Blogger Maureen Lok

Community Gardening: The Gardens at the Center for Children & Young Adults, Part 1, by Guest Blogger Maureen Lok

The Center for Children & Young Adults (CCYA) is located in Marietta, Georgia on a 4.5 acre campus. CCYA is a 501©3 group home dedicated to providing safe and suitable housing, youth development activities and comprehensive supportive housing services for at-risk homeless youth ages 12-20 who have been abandoned, abused, neglected, or sexually exploited. Youth come to CCYA because their parents are unwilling, unable or unavailable to care for them. While at CCYA, youth attend public school, get part time jobs and learn skills so that they can one day live independently.

We find funds to send our youth to their senior prom, let them be on the football team or cheer leading squad, and purchase uniforms for part-time jobs at Chick-Fil-A. We send them to summer camps, enroll them in Drivers Ed, and seek mentors for them. We are not the ordinary group home for foster kids. We take in kids from Metro Atlanta and all of Georgia, but primarily from Cobb, Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, and Douglas counties. At this time, our census is 71% female and 74% are black. Getting all of these kids to graduate high school is a major achievement, and we then help them transition to trade school, the armed forces, a job or college. In a world where the overall graduation rate for foster youth is 55.3% (graduation rate for other youth is 87.3%), our kids far exceed that grim statistic.

CCYA is a very special place in that we provide our kids with a nurturing atmosphere in a home-like cottage setting. For almost 20 years, Cobb and Douglas County Master Gardeners have volunteered at CCYA cultivating the atmosphere. What began with a single raised bed where tulips and herbs were planted has grown to a 1.5 acre succession of gardens that together provide fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and more to over 100 youth annually at The Center. Two Master Gardeners have been with the project since it’s inception…Maureen Lok (Cobb) and Toni Moore (Douglas). Maureen Lok served on the Board of Directors of CCYA and was Board Chair for 8 years. She continues as MG Director of the Garden Project and Emeritus Trustee. Toni Moore, Douglas County Master Gardener is Co-Director of the Garden. The garden is funded by Cobb Master Gardeners, Master Gardeners of Georgia, Pure Farmland Growth Project, the Food Well Alliance, the Peachtree Garden Club, Captain Planet Foundation, the National Garden Association and private donations.

 The core of the garden area at CCYA is the Veggie Patch where carrots, green beans, peas, cucumbers, onions, squashes, spinach, cabbage, tomatoes, collards, peppers and more are planted. Nearby is an herb garden where an assortment of common herbs are grown to spice up food in the CCYA kitchen. In the Berry Patch blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are grown–44 pounds of blackberries in one season. Nearby, several fig trees reside. The Hoop House is a structure where we grow peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, lettuce, collards and other plants year-round. Melon Hill is where watermelon, cantaloupe, squash and corn are grown. The Flower Garden is where cone flowers, asters, hydrangea and other colorful flowers and pollinators are grown. The final piece of the garden area is “The Egg Plant”, a chicken coop where a flock of one dozen chickens reside. These feathered ladies provide over five dozen eggs a week to our kitchen for scrambled eggs, frittatas and other dishes to nourish our kids.

 Part 2–More About the Gardens & Community Gardening @ CCYA, will be posted on 3/10. Anyone interested in helping with the CCYA gardens can reach me, Maureen Lok, via email at: Photos provided by Maureen Lok.

2020 RGC High School Environmental Blog Post Competition Winners

2020 RGC High School Environmental Blog Post Competition Winners

Roswell Garden Club is excited to announce the winners of the 2020 Environmental Blog Entry Competition:

1st place – The Do’s and Don’ts of Recycling, Tara Goff

2nd place – We Can Lower Our Carbon Footprint and End Climate Change—Here’s How, Savannah Young

3rd place – Why am I Helping the Environment?, Maynor Chinchilla

We encourage you to read the words of these student-bloggers from our community and take action on their suggestions. Let’s work together to take the National Garden Club, Inc.’s challenge and move from consumers to caretakers of our air, water, forest, land, and wildlife.

Remembering Lov by RGC blogger Florence Anne Berna

Remembering Lov by RGC blogger Florence Anne Berna

Roswell Garden Club lost a loyal member and beloved friend, Lov Heintzelman, this spring. Florence Anne Berna shared this written account of Lov’s dedication to RGC. Helen Keller said, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” Lov Heintzelman, thank you for touching all of us and making the city of Roswell a more beautiful place.

On May 3, Roswell Garden Club lost long-time honorary member Lov Heintzelman. While she went by the nickname “Lov,” her full name was Lavonda Marlene – a beautiful name for a beautiful lady. She was born, raised and educated in Grand Rapids, MI. She attended a private girl’s college called Stephens College majoring in, of all things, Aviation. Upon her graduation in 1955, she attained her pilots license. Also that year she married Robert Heintzelman. They were together 59 years, raised 3 boys (one set of twins), and enjoyed 3 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. 

 Not many people know, but Lov worked as a detective for a few years. When she established her own arts and crafts business, that platform allowed her artistic talents to soar. She sold her creations from her Roswell home, and later when she and Bob relocated permanently to the North GA Mountains, from a store nearby. She and Bob also collaborated on a business venture entitled Interiors by Heintzelman. Lov truly enjoyed entertaining family and friends and was an expert cook, baker and decorator—especially during the holidays. Even after her move to Jasper, Lov continued to commute to Roswell to attend monthly garden club meetings and functions. Many of us remember how stoic and strong Lov was when both her husband and son were so very ill.  Randy–one of the twins—battled cancer for years. As fate would have it, Randy and Bob passed away within a few days of each other. Lov brought her family through 2 funerals and 2 out-of-state burials. Despite those losses, Lov wanted to remain in her Jasper home. Since Bob was a member of the US Marine Corp. and a member of a local Marine Corp. League, Lov had lots of support and many friends helping around the house, checking on her and keeping her company. Lov battled health and heart issues for years and finally needed to relocate to an assisted living facility in Jasper. It was there while in hospice she left us after an amazing 85 year life. A few years ago, a poem was printed I believe in the GA Garden Gate magazine by Barbara Bailey. I think it’s appropriate we revisit it. 

                                                                            Meet You at the Gate

                   A beautiful garden now stands alone,
                   Missing the one who nurtured it.
                   But now she is gone.
                   Her flowers still bloom, and the sun it still shines,
                   But the rain is like teardrops, for the ones left behind.
                   The weeds lay waiting to take the garden’s beauty away,
                   But the beautiful memories of its keeper are in our hearts to stay.
                   She loved every flower, even some that were weeds!
                   So much love she would plant with each little seed.
                   But, just like her flowers, she was part of God’s plan,
                   So when it was her time He reached down His hand,
                   He looked through the garden…searching for the best,
                   That’s when He found her; it was her time to rest.
                   It was hard for those who loved her to just let her go.
But God had a spot in His garden that needed a gentle soul.
So when you start missing her, remember..if you just wait…
  When God has another spot in His garden,
He’ll meet YOU at the gate.



National Garden Week: A Look at Some of our Favorite Gardens by RGC Members

National Garden Week: A Look at Some of our Favorite Gardens by RGC Members

We are closing out our National Garden Week posts with a look at favorite gardens members have visited, pictures from Lisa’s recent visit to Gibbs Garden, and pics from a few members’ gardens–the feature image for this post is from Mary Ann Booth Cabot’s backyard. We hope you are as inspired by these gardens as we are. Thanks for celebrating National Garden Week with us.

Debbie V suggests we add visiting these gardens on our bucket lists:

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Gretchen C’s 3 favorite gardens to visit in the United States are:

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1. Longwood Gardens in Kennet Square, PA. These gardens are located just 30 minutes from where I lived the first 30 years of my life, so I have been there innumerable times. The gardens are known for their fountains, architecture, and green houses. In 1798 an arboretum was planted at this location. In 1906, Pierre S. DuPont really developed the garden with structures and more plantings. It was opened to the public in 1921. There are over 1,077 acres with 4.5 acres of greenhouses and a 5 acre fountain area. In addition, there are buildings enclosing a theater and world class organ as well as an outdoor theater where one can see a play or musical in the summer.

The Philadelphia area’s climate is a zone that encourages many types of horticulture and for this reason there is much to see in the extensive outdoor gardens. The Christmas Decorations in the large conservatories are magnificent.

I first visited as a child but remember most vividly taking my own children there in strollers. At that time there was no admission charge and a friend and I would go frequently with our young children. A favorite spot was an outdoor water feature that flowed down a large stone stairway. After moving north to New Jersey and then Connecticut, I would visit my parents in December, take them to see the Christmas Decorations, and have dinner in the restaurant.

2. Portland, Oregon Japanese Garden. There are many Japanese Gardens in the world. This one is situated on 12 acres on a wooded hillside west of the city. It is a tranquil spot with 8 separate different styles of Japanese Gardens. Water runs through the gardens as falls and pools, adding to the enchantment. In addition to the tea house there are other small Japanese style buildings. There is a Koi Pond and many moss coated structures. The numerous Japanese Maples are not to be missed. If you have visited Portland, you know that horticulture in that area is more abundant than many other places. This is due to ample moisture and moderate temperatures.

3. Of the gardens I have visited, our Atlanta Botanical Garden is my other favorite. No need to tell you as I know you all must love it too!


Lisa E shared these beautiful pictures from her recent visit to Gibbs Gardens, a world-class garden in Ball Ground, GA, a few miles north of Roswell.



Linda Lee P shared these gorgeous pictures from Miramar Beach.



Carolyn H shared images of her remarkable daylilies.





Mary Ann Booth Cabot shared glorious pictures from her garden.