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Cadillac Garden Club maintains connections between community and Earth

The Cadillac Garden Club took over the Sound Garden in 2003 after local artist and band teacher, Frank Youngman, built the first musical sculpture in the parks center.

Since taking over the maintenance and design of the Sound Garden, metal musical sculptures and instruments have been installed. The club has also created five gardens within the park that are maintained by teams of club members.

Once a week each team tends to their garden. During the growing season, the club hosts Saturday cleanups, giving members and the community a chance to get more involved with the growing process in the garden.

Garden Club President, Leslie Hoover, says that many people aren’t able to commit to the club and their gardening schedule, but she hopes the Saturday cleanups will continue to encourage community members to pitch in.

“Our age distribution is on the high end, like 55 and older, so we obviously would love to have younger members as well,” says Hoover. “Younger people are working, going to school and they have families so it’s a little bit harder to get people committed to something.”

Gardening supplies sits on a sand toy near the toddler garden- an area designed with plants and musical activities for younger children.
Draya Raby
/
WCMU
Gardening supplies sits on a sand toy near the toddler garden- an area designed with plants and musical activities for younger children.

According to Hoover, day-care groups often come to the Sound Garden and kids involved with Jam & Bread — a local organization providing a place for youth from all backgrounds to learn musical, artistic and life skills — volunteer at the Saturday cleanups sometimes.

“Regardless of what your situation in life is you need to have some outlets and meet people and Jam & Bread encourages them to volunteer and do things in the community in exchange for those free lessons,” said Hoover.

Through the Sound Garden, the connection between music and nature is strong. Hoover describes gardening as getting back to the basics of nature.

“Music sort of has its core foundations that go with the rhythms of the Earth and the rhythms of the body, so I think they’re both connecting you to the Earth’s energy,” says Hoover.

(From left to right) Sandy Nyland, Leslie Hoover, Kathy Simon, Tammy Arrand and Sally Mathew plant new juniper bushes in one of the garden beds at the Sound Garden, on Saturday, June 8, 2024.
Draya Raby
/
WCMU
(From left to right) Sandy Nyland, Leslie Hoover, Kathy Simon, Tammy Arrand and Sally Mathew plant new juniper bushes in one of the garden beds at the Sound Garden, on Saturday, June 8, 2024.

Many of the Garden Clubs active members have become Master Gardeners through the Michigan State University Extension. Hoover says those members are extra helpful when it comes to choosing what plants to bring to the garden.

Co-Chair of the Sound Garden Committee, Tammy Arrand, is one of the master gardeners in the club. She said part of the recertification for master gardeners is 40 hours of volunteer work on approved projects.

A few years ago, Arrand made sure that Cadillac Garden Club cleanups were an approved project.

“Once this is an approved Master Gardener project any master gardener can come here and work to get hours credit,” Arrand says.

The plants and structures at the Sound Garden are purchased by the garden club, with help from city grants for specific projects.

The club’s only fundraising event is a Holiday Home Tour. According to Hoover, this year marks the 25th tour fundraiser.

The Home Tour takes place in December, where tickets are purchased and people walk through four homes, decorated with fresh floral arrangements by the garden club.

“In addition to gardening, the club is involved in floral design, so some people come because they’re more interested in floral design, some for landscaping and outdoor gardening and some for environmental issues,” says Hoover.

Cleanups will be taking place at the Sound Garden on the second Saturday of July through October from 9 to 11 a.m.

Draya Raby is a newsroom intern for WCMU based at the Cadillac News.
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