A garden for Florence Wilson Elementary School

Meghan Flynn
Garden City Telegram
Maxine Wells, center, president of the Kansas Associated Garden Clubs, speaks about the school garden project at Florence Wilson Elementary School Tuesday during a dedication ceremony.  Fourth grader Macey Kennedy, left, third grader Tamera Emedue and Jill Reagle, Florence Wilson principal, are shown listening to Wells’ comments.

Florence Wilson Elementary School now officially has a school garden.

The garden was dedicated on Tuesday to Florence Wilson, who the school was named after, and Linda Farr, the former president of the Garden City Garden Club, who died in January. 

Jill Reagle, principal of Florence Wilson, said the school garden has been in the works since 2019, when the GCGC was approved for a Plant America Grant for the project, with the goal to "beautify our school grounds and to teach the kids about gardening and the outdoors."

Maxine Wells, president of the Kansas Associated Garden Clubs, said the Plant America grant, sponsored by the the National Garden Club, of which the KAGC belongs, was obtained by Farr and it's in her honor that the GCGC continued the project. 

Farr was a wonderful woman and active member in KAGC for many years, Wells said. She was dedicated to her garden club, her community and KAGC where she was the Wildflower chairman, and worked on the Smokey Bear & Woodsy Owl program in the schools and last fall took on two additional committee chairs she said.

"Any time there was a need in our organization, Linda was willing to step up," she said. "We will miss her high energy and enthusiasm. Kudos to Elaine (Childers) and the Garden City Garden Club for helping Linda's dream for this outdoor classroom to become what it is today."

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Garold Farr, Linda Farr's husband, said the project was close to her heart.

"I think she'd be honored," he said. 

Reagle said the garden is a great project for the school and its students.

"I think it's great enrichment for the kids to know about gardening and plants and hopefully it's something we can continue for the long-term with our kids," she said. "It's a beautiful space for our students to enjoy, and our staff."

Barb King, a member of GCGC agrees. 

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"I think the kids loved it and it's a good opportunity for them to learn about gardening and plant life and animal life," she said. 

The garden has one tree, a crab apple, some tomato plants and several varieties of flower including zinnias, impatiens, dianthus, snap dragons, petunias, asters pansies and marigolds. 99 tulip bulbs were planted in 2020 along the building in honor of Florence Wilson's 99th birthday. 

A bench was also provided to the garden by the Florence Wilson Elementary PTO. 

Birdhouses and the butterfly house were painted by students in the after school Engage program and put together by the GCGC. 

The plants, tree, hoses, buckets, tubs and gardening items for the garden were provided through the grant funds and everything was planted by the GCGC.