Stone County Couple finds volunteering rewarding
Ken and Rose Schwarte of Branson West moved to the Ozarks to relax and retire. In 2006 they attended and graduated from the Master Gardener of the Ozarks training program. After receiving 30 hours of basic horticulture training on a variety of topics; they put the knowledge to work on their home. They created a garden oasis in the back yard. Stone county rock and soil was a challenge.
One May night in 2008 a knock on the door came from neighbor Janice Sallee. She told the Schwartes of a camp that was putting gardens around cabins and wanted to know if the Master Gardeners would help. "Sure" said Ken. They then went out to Kids Across America camp and found and almost impossible task. Kids would be checking in to the camp in days. Flats and Flats of plants were ready to be put in the ground. "Ground... well.. if you call rock and clay ground" says Rose. After the first year, It was heart breaking. "Flowers had nothing to grow in.. no water.. " says Ken.
Kids Across America (KAA) coordinator Dave Jahnlee asked the Schwarte's to help for 2009. "I told him he would need to get us some soil, some compost, and water" says Ken. Flowers were purchased from College of the Ozarks. The gardens started to take shape.
The numerous gardens in front of the cabins, barrels with flowers, the cactus gardens at the entrance, and the near 40 hanging baskets were all in place and ready for the campers to arrive.
Master Gardeners Ken and Rose Schwarte have donated over 250 hours to this proje
ct. "A lot of work and some frustrations; but all in all we are very pleased in the progress this year" says Ken. The camp is now quiet and done for the summer. Ken and Rose still are active in other projects around the Ozarks. Each spring is reserved.. for the KAA camp.
The Schwarte's have earned the winter off and have taken with them a scrap book full of memories and new friends.