The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

September 29, 2013

Garden Club of Johnstown to Welcome the Holidays


— Holiday homes will bloom after attending the 23rd annual Welcome the Holidays fundraiser for the Garden Club of Johnstown.

The benefit will begin at 11 a.m. Nov. 9 at Sunnehanna Country Club, 1000 Sunnehanna Drive, Westmont.

“We tend to sell out,” said Carla Straw of Richland Township, who is co-chairwoman of the event along with Rene Hrescak of Hollidaysburg.

The luncheon, which is the garden club’s only fundraiser, attracts 240 guests each year.

Before the meal is served at noon, the first item on the agenda will be boutique shopping.

Items include wreaths, swags and centerpieces crafted with silk flowers and other adornments, Christmas ornaments and holiday novelties, all handmade by garden club members and ready to decorate area homes.

“Shopping begins at 11 sharp,” Straw said.

“We have some who come early and are waiting to get in.”

These creations are put together at workshops starting in September, but materials are purchased and ideas are gathered throughout the year.

“Creativity grows at the workshops,” said Anne Jenkins of Westmont, the club’s co-president along with Hrescak.

“We want to have items that are popular and trendsetting as well as traditional. There will be some fall, but mainly Christmas. It will be appropriate for the season.”

In addition to crafting, garden club members will work as cashiers and at setting up, pricing and packing up.

There also will be a slideshow of civic development projects, and the governor’s trophy won by the club will be on display.

“We were the outstanding club of our size in the state for 2012,” Jenkins said.

After lunch, garden club members will model holiday fashions provided by Karen’s Couture, 9 Entrance Drive, Lower Yoder Township.

Jeff Adler of Adler’s Nursery Landscape Inc., Altoona, will present a program on new trends in holiday decorating. He will bring three or four finished pieces that will be used as door prizes and create more pieces during his presentation.

Other raffles and door prizes will feature lottery and money trees.

Monies raised are used by the club’s civic development, conservation/environment, Habitat for Humanity, horticulture therapy, flower show and youth gardeners committees.

The civic development committee, headed by Alicia Garrison, Barb Rushin, Jan Wolfe, Doris Horner and Bev Sanders, are responsible for plantings throughout the area.

Civic development projects for 2013 included the Barnett Street parklet, the Boulevard parklet, Peoples Natural Gas Park, Johnstown Flood Museum, Central Park Gazebo baskets, the Inclined Plane, Cambria County Library, Main Street planters, Point Park, Roxbury Bandshell, the Russell House in Moxham, Sandyvale Memorial Gardens and Conservancy, Jim Mayer Riverwalk Trail, Wagner-Ritter House, Westmont signs, YMCA, YWCA, The Ridge and The Grove in Westmont.

“We want to collaborate with the owners of the sites so they can help us with watering and maintaining,” Jenkins said.

Monetary donations also were directed to the West End Improvement Group, Stackhouse Park and the YWCA.

Two of the club’s committees cover the age spectrum from young to old.

The youth committee, chaired by Annette Deitz, gives youngsters an introduction to gardening and caring for plants.

“They made a significant contribution to the flower show,” Jenkins said.

“We’re expanding and revitalizing this committee.”

The horticulture therapy committee, led by Faith Thomas, visits area nursing homes to share their knowledge of plants and gardening and interact with residents while working on projects.

“We use silk flowers and have something simple and bigger,” said Straw, who also is the club’s first vice president.

“We have 20-25 residents we work with. We sometimes go to the Christian Home, too.”

Last year, the conservation/environment committee, directed by Ellen Singleton and Karlice Makuchan, whose efforts are geared toward native plants and plant identification, worked with Natural Biodiversity to remove Japanese knotweed along the Jim Mayer Riverwalk Trail. This year, they replanted the area with native plants.

“The project won first place statewide and first place overall for the National Garden Clubs Inc.,” Jenkins said.

Those who wish to contribute to the garden club’s efforts, but can’t attend the fundraiser, can make a  donation through the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies. Mail donations to the foundation at 116 Market St., Suite 4, Johnstown, Pa. 15901, or call 536-7741.


What: 23rd annual Welcome the Holidays fundraiser for the Garden Club of Johnstown.

When: 11 a.m. Nov. 9.

Where: Sunnehanna Country Club, 1000 Sunnehanna Drive, Westmont.

Admission: $30.

Information: 255-7136 or email

Ruth Rice covers Features for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at