BY MARK HOSKINS
Members of the Altamont Garden Club, the Altamont Tree Committee, and members of the Altamont High School FFA planted several trees for Arbor Day in Union Cemetery.
On Friday, April 27, a crowd gathered at Union Cemetery to plant trees in memory of three past Garden Club members. In memory of Margaret Berkbigler, a Japanese Maple Bloodgood was planted. In memory of Dorothy Grant, a Japanese Ivory Silk Lilac was planted. And in memory of Maria Syoen, a Zelkova Serrata was planted.
Berkbigler was a Garden Club member for 42 years, from 1966 to 2008. The Japanese Maple Bloodgood will reach a height of approximately 15 to 20 feet. It will bloom in red each April.
Grant was a Garden Club member for 20 years, from 1997-2017. The Japanese Ivory Silk Lilac will grow to be approximately 20 to 25 feet tall and will bloom in a creamy white color between May and June.
Syoen was a Garden Club member for 17 years, from 1991 to 2008. The Zelkova Serrata is a medium to large deciduous tree that will grow to be approximately 50 to 80 feet tall. It is native to Eastern Asia and is often grown as an ornamental tree and used in bonsai.
To help plant the trees, Mrs. Thornton’s fifth grade class came over from AGS. Lynn Kull spoke to the students about the importance of planting and maintaining trees throughout our city. He also shared with the students a little about the history of arbor day which began in Nebraska in 1872.
Five members of the FFA, junior Darryl Mellendorf and freshmen Hunter Cripe, Macey Ton, Christopher Holland, and Lisa Thompson, were on hand to held do most of the shovel work to plant the trees.
Garden Club member Carol Tillman stated that the Garden Club picks out the trees each year for the memorial dedication.
According to Kull, over 1,800 trees have been planted in recent years throughout Altamont.