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Imagine if more followed Manteca Garden Club’s lead

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POSTED August 5, 2017 12:33 a.m.

The Manteca Garden Club is determined to enhance the community one project at a time.
Several months ago the club contacted the city about putting in new landscaping at the Maple Avenue Plaza in downtown Manteca where a large swath has been barren for years.
Manteca Garden Club President Paula Elias noted that club member Tom Powell is meeting with Cody Ross of the city staff to draw up plans to re-landscape the plaza.
That’s not all. The club has approached the city about enhancing the landscape in the Manteca Library courtyard now that the wrought iron fencing has been put in place.
This is on top of a number of other undertakings in the past several years including new landscaping around the library, purchasing crepe myrtle trees for East Union Cemetery, re-landscaping part of the Tidewater Bikeway and planting additional trees at Woodward Park.
“It would be wonderful to have other organizations partner with us in our city beautification projects,” Elias noted.
Given Manteca is less than 10 months away from its centennial, what better way to kick off Manteca’s second 100 years than to have civic, service, youth, and other organizations “Adopt Manteca” to give public spaces new life and appeal.
The late Clarese Anderson — who also was a member of the Manteca Garden Club — two decades ago got tired of seeing weeds on large parcels on Manteca’s major streets. She was able to corral individuals with tractors after clearing it with property owners to disc lots one year in early winter. She then enlisted Scouts and several service clubs to spread hundreds of pounds of California Golden poppy speeds.
The first year the blooms were limited. But in the second year — and several years thereafter — sections of Main Street and Yosemite were ablaze for up to four weeks with golden poppies.
While Anderson’s approach had a limited impact as it dealt with wildflowers and addressed vacant lots, a wish list could easily be created of public property that could be improved with small projects that clubs could handle either on their own are partnering with another organization.
The goal would be to make Manteca’s public spots more appealing to not just residents but visitors as well.
Anderson was a firm believer you could improve Manteca one small step at a time. It is what the garden club has been doing for years. Imagine the possibility if other groups step up to tackle small projects as the Manteca Garden Club has done.
Elais notes the Manteca Garden Club relies on proceeds from its annual May garden tour for the funds to do such projects as well as for underwriting college scholarships and help schools with student gardens. The tour is made possible by residents opening their yards for the tour, businesses donating raffle prizes, and people attending the tour. The garden club can be contacted through facebook or at

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email

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