Blossomy makeover: Garden club works to transform town

Published 7:00 pm Sunday, March 17, 2013

The city of Wesson is undergoing a blossomy makeover thanks to the efforts of some local green thumbs.

Behind the library, amidst a landscape of recently rooted perennials, the Wesson Garden Club toils through the hard dirt of a former junk pile.

“This little garden used to be a dump,” explains Kate Hampton, president of the club.

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Thanks in large part to the efforts of the 22-member club, the lot today more closely resembles a scene at a well-manicured arboretum.

Throughout Wesson, signs of the club’s progress can be found. In fact, it’s likely the first thing to be seen when entering the sleepy town in southern Copiah County.

Club members got the go-ahead from the city to beautify all of the “Welcome to Wesson” signs after Hampton’s suggestion that they “resembled a cheap tombstone.”

Funding for the club’s projects stem from several sources. Bi-annual fundraisers offer one source of revenue. Accordingly to season, mums are sold in the fall and geraniums are sold in the spring.

“We have been very blessed that the community supports our endeavors,” says Hampton, referring to the seasonal events.

The group also works with the landscaper at Copiah-Lincoln Community College, who has provided advice as well as access to wholesale pricing.

“He would like the city of Wesson to look as pretty as Co-Lin,” says Hampton. “And we would, too.”

With the help of the American Legion, Lions Club and the city of Wesson, the avid horticulturists are building eight brick planters in the downtown vicinity. Sasanquas, a species of camellia, were special ordered to occupy the planters.

In addition, the club is allying with the Mississippi Department of Transportation’s “Think Green” coordinator as well as the Copiah County Sheriff’s Department to champion an anti-littering campaign in Copiah County.

“Mississippi is the dirtiest state in the union,” says Hampton.”

The garden club is by no means a recent addition to the Wesson community. The club was founded in 1936, and many of its current members are following a tradition started by mothers, grandmothers and great-aunts.

“We are generational garden clubbers,” Hampton explains.

To build on the legacies of many members, newcomers are encouraged to join.

“We are always looking for more members,” Hampton says. “We need people who love making things pretty.”