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Garden Club celebrates holidays, honors founder
Frances Meeks shares her story recently as the guest speaker at the Richmond Hill Garden Clubs Holiday Luncheon at the Richmond Hill City Center. - photo by Photo by Sandra M. Elliott

It was a day of celebration at the Richmond Hill Garden Club’s annual Holiday Luncheon, held last week at the Richmond Hill City Center.
The festive spirit at the luncheon was complete with tables decorated by committee members Cean Molinari, Charlotte Scott and Joan Chase.  The club members, which includes a few men, were dressed in holiday colors and outfits, adding to the celebration.
Betsy Wilson opened the luncheon with a special devotion, designed to get everyone in a “prayerful and meditative mode.”  
Wilson did not disappoint, as all participants were required to close their eyes, as she read a touching and calming story of the travelling couple of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus Christ.
Club President Jan Davis reviewed some of the club’s past accomplishments the year, commending the members for making a difference in beautifying the community of Richmond Hill.
Davis noted that the club’s entry in the city’s Christmas parade provided an opportunity for the members to give away more than 500 daffodil bulbs.
Davis said she looks forward to the coming year as the club plans to be even more active.
“In 2014, look for an extension of our Yard of the Month program called “Set your Sight on This Site,” which will recognize nonresidential areas around Richmond Hill that display unusually attractive landscaping,” she said.
Members honored the club’s founder and first president, Francis Meeks, with an Honorary Life Membership to the Garden Club of Georgia.
Meeks, a longtime Richmond Hill resident who moved to the area in 1954, has always been a “mover and a shaker” in the community.
“I moved to Richmond Hill, and promptly adopted it as my home,” Meeks said at the luncheon.
Meeks chose to follow in her mother’s footsteps, teaching social studies and home economics.  Meeks shared with the group that her mother also “cultivated in her a love for plants and flowers.”
“From the beginning, the garden club was formed with the intent of improving the community around them,” she said. “Our very first project was to improve and beautify the school grounds.”
Meeks and the original garden club members did not hesitate to get the entire community involved, she said. She coordinated with the staff at the Brown Farm in Pembroke, and prisoners from the farm helped to prepare the grounds with the club members then adding boxwoods, azaleas and dahlias to the school, resulting in a beautiful setting for all who visited to enjoy.
The luncheon ended with Christmas-themed games and drawings, and several lucky members went home with the centerpieces.

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