Not your typical rescue story:
After 27 years of owning her own business in Amarillo, Texas; Candy Clark and her husband moved to the Ozarks in Dec of 2003. "When we moved here I had never lived in the woods. It was so exciting." Says Candy. The area they moved into had not been heavily developed yet.. "and I had never seen so many wildflowers. It became an adventure to identify each one and as the season progressed..so did the variety of flowers". Here in the Ozarks.. progress happens and homes start filling in great areas of the country side. Suddenly all "the quiet glens with their secret stands of flowers, rocky outcroppings that provided homes for the woodland creatures were gone, gone forever". She says thoughtfully, "Like voices extinguished, never to be heard from again. That was profoundly sad. I wanted to bring them home and give them a chance to continue".
She decided to get more information; She enrolled in the Master Gardener program. During these classes came "the idea for Wildflower Rescue. It became my project goal. When I started talking about it with several other Master Gardeners, they expressed interest in the idea". After finishing her 30 hours of training, the Wildflower Rescue Group was officially formed.
In the Kimberling City area; Foxwood Shores, a new subdivision on Little Aunts Creek Road was getting ready for development. Candy asked the construction supervisor about a particular hillside in the subdivision that he was going to bulldoze for a septic system. After getting permission from the supervisor .. the committee raced into action to dig as many plants as they could. "Can you imagine, Here we are a bunch of girls digging in the dirt while the construction boys were standing by their big machines and drinking coffee watching us. They needed to get to work, but they waited for us." says Dr. Anne Wigg. "It was such a frantic effort, no one thought of taking a picture" says Candy with a laugh. The committee has grown with Master Gardener members Marty Kenny, Dr. Anne Wigg, Bill Walley, J.W. Pace, Joe Kleiber, David Smith, Sharon Burgess, Veronica Oots, Roberta Arsenault, Patty Zschoche, Margaret Kaiser, Patty Olsen, Kathryn Kufahl and Chairleader Candy Clark.
The University of Missouri Extension Guide states: "it is unlawful to remove any wildflower endangered or not from public land. This includes highway right-of-ways. Anyone interested in growing wildflowers should select those that can be grown from seeds or propagated in other ways for use in the garden. Avoid digging from native locations unless native locations are being destroyed for some reason"! Candy says with confidence, "That being said, we as a group, under the umbrella of Master Gardeners, have permission forms that need to be filled out before working on private land."
So far a few hundred plants have been rescued. Most went home with the individual rescuer. "I have two acres of woods that are dedicated to native plants and flowers. It is a work in progress, but many plants have found a home there". Candy adds with a grin.. "We speak almost daily! I am always delighted to hear their voices".
Now with the summer nearing an end and the colors change to fall; Candy can take time for her other primary interest. "Painting ..which is very connected to gardening. I paint in a realistic style and my favorite subject matter is gardens. Plants, all things green, stone, statuary, and old objects found in a green setting".
You can a part of Master Gardeners of the Ozarks and find your passion. call us at 417-357-6812. We look forward to talking with you.