Waterloo Garden Club formed to beautify city

Pictured are Garden Club members after their first project: the Welcome to Waterloo sign. They are, from left, Linda Hern, Kate Meurer, Tom Prost, Laurene Taylor and Carol Raeber. Not present is Lisa Dean. (submitted photo)

In an effort to beautify Waterloo for the summer and years to come, an official Waterloo Garden Club has been formed.

Steve Notheisen, a Waterloo alderman and club member, said the members just completed their first project: planting flowers and spreading mulch at the Waterloo sign at the north end of town.

“Mayor Tom Smith has been trying to put together this club for a couple of years,” Notheisen said. “We had several people who were interested, and we had our first meeting about a month ago.”.

They’ve been meeting on Tuesday evenings and have been charged by the mayor to beautify the city’s signs.

This year, they plan to do two more signs and be a part of the judging for the Yards of Distinction program.

Smith started the Yards of Distinction program a few years ago and had some assistance from some Master Gardeners, so the interest and enthusiasm was present in Waterloo to start a local garden club.

“We offered the mayor some ideas to enhance the program, and he’s incorporated some of them,” Notheisen said.

Right now, the club has six members and is seeking more.

“We want people who are willing to get their hands dirty,” Notheisen said. “This isn’t the kind of garden club that sits or putters around.”

The group buys their planting supplies and the city reimburses them for their costs. A representative from the group is currently working with the park district, and Notheisen said he hopes to work with the parks in the future.

“Most of what we put in this year are perrenials, so they’ll come back up next year,” Notheisen said.

“Then we’ll add annuals as well. Hopefully, the signs will only be a major project once and we can tend to them as the years go on.”

In the future, Notheisen said he would love to see the group do something with the lot next to City Hall.

“That could easily be a little sitting area with flowers,” he said. “It would be nice to be able to convert that lot, since we don’t have any other plans for it.”

The City of Waterloo and Waterloo Chamber of Commerce are hosting the fourth annual Yards of Distinction contest, which is open to all homeowners or rental tenants within city limits.

Several categories will be considered and judged by the Waterloo Garden Club.

Waterloo residents can nominate their yard or a neighbor’s yard as a Yard of Distinction on the city website: www.waterloo.il.us. Entries will be accepted through June 16.

“Our goal as a garden club is to beautify Waterloo one yard or one project at a time,” Notheisen said.

Those interested in joining the club can contact Notheisen at aldermanstevenotheisen@gmail.com or Sarah Deutch at 939-8600, ext. 211.

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