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Manteca Garden Club plants four more roses
Hank Wiegel and Russ Jones secure the soil around a Sweetness Grandiflora rose bush provided by family and friends as a memorial to the late Manteca Garden Club President Vada McKinnon – who served in the position when the Memorial Rose Garden. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
It was something that Vada McKinnon would have liked to have done herself.

As the Monday morning fog began to wear off roughly two dozen members of the Manteca Garden Club gathered at the Memorial Rose Garden in front of the Manteca Senior Center to plant four new rose bushes provided by members of McKinnon’s family in her honor.

She served as the club’s president from 1994 through 1997 – a time during which the rose garden itself came to fruition.

Since 1953, the club has been active in various projects intended to beautify Manteca – including the Memorial Rose Garden, the garden at the Blue Star Memorial outside of the Manteca Public Library, and the “Living Sign” that spells out Manteca as visitors enter the downtown area.

According to current club President Sandi Larson, the regular monthly meetings of the club are often only the starting point for the activities of the roughly 40 members that fill the ranks. They tend to the regular maintenance of the designated destinations on almost a weekly basis during the peak growing season.

“Civic beautification is really the main thing that the group participates in,” said Larson. “We’re all gardening enthusiasts, and we have people that go out together every week during pruning season to take care of things like the roses and other projects in town.”

Membership is open to anybody wishing to join – with monthly meetings on the third Monday of every month at 12:30 p.m. inside of the McFall Room at the Manteca Public Library. Scheduled speakers begin on a designated topic at 1 p.m. Annual membership dues are $25 and assists with the beautification efforts undertaken by the club.

The annual group-sponsored Manteca Garden Tour – which was halted in 2009 but will be held later this year – is the primary fundraising source for the garden club. The roughly 400 tickets sold at $15 each help fund the plants, flowers, fertilizer, and other materials needed for upkeep at various projects throughout the community.

A scholarship is offered annually to one or two Manteca High graduating seniors as well.

For more information about the Manteca Garden Club, a list of upcoming meeting dates and speaking event topics, and how to join, visit the group’s website at