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New gardening area to adorn Hampton Middle School

| Monday, May 8, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
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Hampton middle school administrators Marlynn Lux (left) and Roberta Good, eighth-grader Rose Melchar, and teacher and garden club head, Amy Alexander present a design for a garden planter at a recent school board meeting.

A new garden planter will welcome students and visitors to Hampton Middle School before the end of the school year.

A six-member committee, with the help of the middle school garden club, has brainstormed over the past few months to enhance and beautify a new planting area in the school's front entrance.

Garden club sponsoring teacher Amy Alexander and its students, in particular, Rose Melchar, an eighth-grader who has been a consistent member in the group, developed the plan.

“It's going to be really cool, really pretty,” said Alexander, who has been working with the garden club for seven-plus years and teaching at the school for 26.

The decision is a planter with “HMS” letters, school colors and lights.

Alexander and Melchar presented a design mock-up to the school board last month. Included are 180 new plants, including perennials, and three large benches donated by the student council, said Alexander.

Melchar assisted in researching and designing a planter garden using a software application.

“She was there every step of the way,” said Alexander.

The board surprised the club by approving the $2,250 total cost of the project, said Alexander.

The letters “HMS” will also be staked into the ground and lit, said Alexander. And the flowers will reflect the school's colors, blue and gold.

Plants include zebra grass, golden cypress, and Russian sage.

Alexander said students often sit in the front of the school so she thinks this will be appreciated.

The committee for this project consisted of Joe Bayer, the district's landscaper and gardener; Rick Farino, building and grounds supervisor; Glen Geary, teacher and student council head and acting middle school principals Marlynn Lux and Roberta Good.

“It was really nice to see a collaborative effort,” Lux said.

Melchar, 14, who gardens at home with her mom, is excited about the project and said some garden club activities include weeding and removing dead plants and garbage around the school.

She said the process of planning for the planter design was a lot of fun.

“We had some mixed ideas. My idea was to get blue and gold flowers,” said Melchar, of Gibsonia.

They hope to have it ready by Remake Learning Day on May 17 or at least by June graduation.

Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.

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