In 2016, a group of Master Gardeners spoke with Sherrie Young, a representative from the Etowah County Courthouse, about the possibility of performing a landscape renovation there. However, because of the drought that year, working on the job was not feasible.
In late fall of 2017, Kevin Dollar, Etowah County’s chief financial officer, and David Akins, chief administrative officer, met with Master Gardener Betty Hall to discuss receiving help from Etowah County Master Gardeners in renovating the courthouse landscape. Hall volunteered to select and purchase plants for the project, to create a landscape design and to obtain help from other Master Gardeners. Administrators at the courthouse would be responsible for hiring workers to remove several large plants and dig several large planting holes for new plants, and for funding the project.
The entire project spanned a period of several months. The first item on the agenda was the removal of several undesirable overgrown plants. Initially, Hall walked around the property, created a landscape design, selected plants and discussed her choices with Dollar and Akin. After being given authority to purchase the selected plants, Hall made out-of-town trips to garden centers and nurseries, made phone calls and shopped on the internet to obtain the items.
The job began in late November or early December 2017, and took several months to complete. Dealing with one area at a time, a large group of Master Gardeners removed smaller plants, cleaned up and prepared the planting beds, installed new plants and mulched each planting bed. By April of this year, the landscape renovation was finished.
The foundation plantings at the courthouse are neat, balanced, complementary and beautiful. At the front entrance, two small weeping Japanese maple trees are stationed, with one on each side. Out front, situated at each of the two corners of the building, and at the two inset corners, is one large camellia. Other planting areas feature a collection of carpet roses, arborvitae, sunshine ligustrum, sky pencil hollies, tea olives, camellias and anise, among others.
On June 19, the Etowah County Commission met with the group of Master Gardeners who participated in the renovation, thanked each of them and presented a plaque to the entire group, stating, “... In appreciation of your selfless contributions of time and talents toward the landscaping project at the Etowah County Courthouse.”
Carol (Bonnie) Link is an Etowah County Master Gardener and an experienced garden writer. Her weekly column is designed to help and encourage others in their gardening endeavors. Send questions or comments to email@example.com.