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Garden club plants trees, shrubs at library
City of Mantecas Brian Johnson helps plant trees and shrubs on the north side of the Manteca Library. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Joan Collins knew her way around a garden. 

For years she served as the president of the Manteca Garden Club and helped showcase the work of some of the best green thumbs that the Northern San Joaquin Valley had to offer. 

So when her daughter Collette flew in from Seattle to see the planting of a Japanese maple tree Friday morning along the side of the Manteca Public Library as part of the city’s annual Arbor Day celebration in her honor, it wasn’t too far off the mark to see a female Collins standing among freshly transferred plants. 

A fitting tribute to honor her mother, Collette Collins said, no doubt. 

And even though she has a Japanese maple tree in her backyard in the Pacific Northwest, she knows that one that pays tribute to the woman that put such great stock in beautifying the community through the planting of anything with roots will get the care that it deserves. 

“I miss her, but it makes me happy to know that she’s celebrated,” Collins said. “Just like anything, life has roots – you plant them and they grow and they mature and eventually they’re no longer. 

“But the go very, very deep. And I think that this is a very fitting tribute – it’s something that will keep on keeping on.”

A handful of Manteca Garden Club faithful braved the rain on Friday morning to attend the tree dedication at the Manteca Public Library and to see Manteca’s annual Arbor Day planting project. They donated both the plants and the trees that were put in along a stretch of the property that used to be ivy. 

A little wet dirt didn’t prevent Pam Dias, the secretary of the garden club, from getting her hands dirty and paying tribute to a woman that meant so much to the organization. 

For the last four years Dias said she’s been learning the ins-and-outs of what it takes to be a master gardener – she’s “not there yet.” She looks forward to the group’s outings at the Manteca Senior Center’s rose garden and the library where they maintain a section near the flagpole facing Center Street that isn’t covered by the in-ground irrigation system. 

“It’s pleasant – it’s doing something that’s going to make somebody else’s day a little bit brighter,” she said. “What I like about being a part of the group is that it appeals to everybody. It appeals to the everyday person. 

“And when you’re talking about putting in plants and flowers – these are things that make you happy.”