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Outdoors Hospice House garden in full swing

Volunteers from the First United Methodist Church gathered last spring to work in the garden.With summer well under way, the growing system is reaching its peak here in Macon County and the garden at the Hospice House in Franklin is the proof.

Filled with tomatoes, peas, squash, and potatoes and other growing things, the garden has come to life with each passing rain shower followed by a sunny day. Though the house isn't up and running yet, but Hospice House Foundation president Michele Alderson believes that having a vibrant garden area is a good way to bring life to the grounds.

“Mrs. Dryman always kept a wonderful garden here and we just couldn't see a better way to bring life to the Hospice House,” she said.

Vegetables such as squash, potatoes, tomatoes, and peas can be found at the garden.In fact, Mrs. Dryman – the previous owner of the home was renowned for her vegetable and flower gardens. Spring was only setting in when passersby could be hypnotized by her many colorful flowers.

“We hope to eventually have a flower garden, too, to carry on her tradition,” Alderson said.

The effort to establish the Hospice House has largely rested on the Hospice House Foundation of Western North Carolina and Four Seasons Compassion for Life, both non-profit organizations with a spate of loyal volunteers. In the same rhythm, the garden work has been conducted by volunteers from the First United Methodist Church (UMC) located in Franklin.

Back in May, the church organized a group of its own volunteers to meet at the house and get to work. The volunteers, who ranged from all ages, spent the day plowing the garden, pulling weeds, and planting the seeds.

Though corn was also planted, it did not fare as well as the rest.The project will be a part of the Serve & Share Garden program at UMC. Each year, the food that is produced by the garden is donated to Macon County CareNet, a fact that Alderson shares with pride.

“It's just so wonderful to see non-profits helping non-profits,” she said. “I think this is what it's all about. Every ounce of hard work that is put into the type of projects helps somebody. None of it goes unnoticed.”

Operating off of donations and grants, the HHF remains about $2.5 million away from meeting its goal of $4.3 million to fully realize the proposed facility, but as it continues to press towards its goal, Alderson is optimistic about the future of the garden.

“I hope that once excavation begins that we can still keep the garden in place,” she said. “It will make the facility feel more like home to those who use it.”

About HHF of WNC

Their hard work pays off as the vegetables are growing in abundance.The Hospice House Foundation of Western North Carolina (HHF) was founded in 2005 with the goal of building a six-bed facility that would allow patients a feeling of comfort while experiencing, in most cases, their final days of life.

The Hospice House will provide residential style living areas, exterior gardens as described and six spacious private patient suites, with covered porches. The house will also feature a sun room, screened porch, a family kitchen, dining room, living room, chapel, and den with a fireplace.

A staff of doctors, nurses, chaplains, and volunteers will be on hand to assist patients and their families. More information can be found at www.hhfwnc.org or you can visit the home for a tour and/or volunteer opportunities at 272 Maple Street in Franklin.


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