Master Gardeners help expand PARC program

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With its Fall 2019 calendar getting underway, the Patrick County Master Gardeners (PCMG) presented a $1,000 check to PARC Workshop in Stuart. The funds are part of the proceeds from the organization’s April 2019 plant sale.

PARC is a day support facility that encourages independence and fosters social skills for mentally and physically handicapped adults living in Patrick and Henry counties. Weekday transportation to the facility is also provided. PARC currently serves 18 clients.

PARC’s selection as this year’s plant sale beneficiary is in keeping with one of PCMG’s major goals: β€œto improve the quality of life through horticulture for special populations such as low income, elderly, or physically challenged.”

The donation will support broadening of the Workshop’s activities to include gardening, according to Director Laura Layman. Each client has their own service plan, she explains. Activities already specified in those plans include shopping trips, exercise sessions, monthly art classes, and bingo games and movies at the library.

One client has already expressed interest in gardening, Layman said, and other donations have been made to purchase plant containers and flowers. A tiller is already on the property from 1973 when the Workshop was first established. In those early days, furniture refinishing was also taught but new labor laws enacted in 2017 now preclude that activity.

PCMG is one of many state volunteer organizations affiliated with Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) and dedicated to helping disseminate horticultural information and research from the state’s land-grant universities. Topics in that educational outreach include turf, landscape, vegetables, trees and shrubs, and pest management practices.