VALDOSTA -- The construction work at the Jimmy Carter Work Project site is finished and the families have moved in. Now it's time to help turn these houses into homes with some trees and shrubs in the yards.

Thanks to the generosity and efforts of local garden clubs, landscaping companies and nurseries, long-awaited landscaping began Wednesday at the JCWP site and is expected to be finished by Friday, said Janet Robinson, trustee of the Garden Center Inc. Council. She is also on

the state board of Garden Clubs of Georgia and a member of two Valdosta garden clubs.

Wednesday morning shrubbery, sod, trees and perennial flowers were arriving at the JCWP site. Each house received two pallets of sod and the areas not sodded will be hydro seeded, Robinson said.

Robinson and Frank Jenner, city arborist, were going from house to house placing markers for the 60 trees, consisting of willow oak and crepe myrtles.

The oak trees were selected for shade, while the crepe myrtles were selected for color, Jenner said, adding that both trees will do well in the location and require little maintenance. The crepe myrtles should come into their own in about five years, and the oaks will be providing shade in about 10 years, Jenner said.

Robinson was asked by Dr. Hugh Bailey to sit on the JCWP committee, and went to several meetings to help organize decorations for the social part of the project, she said.

Robinson saw that during the initial clearing of the site, there was a clear cut of the property that left no trees. She also realized there was no landscaping planned. There needed to be a push to replace trees that were removed, for the sake of the environment and the beauty of the site, Robinson said.

She proposed her idea to Bailey to landscape every house at the site, and he approved her proposal.

Robinson then used her involvement with local garden clubs and made a proposal for them to make a $150 donation per house at the site. Five garden clubs made donations for the project: Holly Garden Club, Designing Women, Magnolia Garden Club, Amaryllis Garden Club and Town and Country. In addition, the Park Avenue Methodist Women's Friday Circle made a donation for a $150. "Everyone I contacted was interested, kind and generous," Robinson said.

To help the homeowners at the JCWP site, members from the local garden clubs met with them and had a landscape workshop, Robinson said. The homeowners were urged to water their landscapes to ensure their survival.

The landscaping project took longer to start due to heavy rains that caused considerable erosion at the site, Robinson said. More dirt had to be brought in before any landscaping could start. When the landscaping is finished this week, Robinson is already planning for the possibility of future landscaping at the JCWP site. There are still vacant lots to build houses, and landscaping is about turning a house into a home, Robinson said.

To contact reporter Rip Prine, please call 244-3400, ext. 237.

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