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Community Outreach
CCRS Heart to Heart


CCRS Member Extraordinaire

by Ivy Bodin


You all know Gwen Cleary.   And if you don't, you should get to know her.    She is that even tempered friendly gal who is our supreme Worker Bee.  She's been our librarian for umpteen years.  A long term CCRS member for perhaps 10 years ,  she has volunteered and worked to promote CCRS for years, as a prominent rose show volunteer annually, working in the Magee House Rose Garden and Armstrong AARS Rose Garden for years, at the Del Mar Fair and any other place a group of us met and represented CCRS.


Gwen is having medical treatment for cancer at this time and her energy has been sapped.  Several CCRS members spear-headed by our new President Sharon McColgan, and Joyce Raymer decided to come together and perhaps have CCRS come to her aid in her private rose garden in view of her current situation. That happened on February 25, 2006 when about 15 volunteers showed up at Gwen's house to give her rose garden a make-over.


Gwen has a stunning out-of-the ordinary cottage garden of about 110 roses,  and many fine  perennials.  This was not a blow-and-go pruning affair.  A few very large roses needed careful pruning and the rest received tip pruning.  She has about 50 David Austin shrub roses, two dozen Old Garden Roses, about 6 Romanticas,  3 standards, a  half dozen polyanthas, another  dozen shrubs and about 9  large climbers, two Hybrid Teas and two miniatures.


It all came to pass with Joel Ross leading the pack by distributing all the amendments the rose bushes needed that Gwen had stockpiled.  With a little help of course.  Then Emily Schwartz tackled her giant Graham Thomas'  and Dwyn Robbie tackled her monsters-- Kathryn Morley and St. Swithuns,  Joe Smith and Walt Kilmer pruned and shaped the monstrous climbers; Diana Kilmer did a Romantica.  Shandra Pickering and Brett Miller  shaped other Austins, Barbara and Bob Woelffer tipped prune; John Bagnasco did also; Brenda, Sharon and Bev Walsh covered the front garden and the rest of us  tip pruned most of the other roses. And of course our ace photographer Brenda Landers-Smith, as usual, was very busy capturing the whole affair with her camera.  Courtesy Joyce Raymer and her efforts we enjoyed sandwiches and cake for lunch.  Gwen's  front yard rose garden, her side yard rose garden and her backyard rose garden, all looked very neat and ready to burst into Springtime when we finished.


This humanitarian effort gifting one of our own CCRS members was a worthwhile a project.  It is wonderful to see this effort when our members are in need.  This is an admirable extension of the volunteer efforts in behalf of the rose that  we participate in along with the public  Magee House Rose garden,the Armstrong AARS rose garden and hospice and elder care flower gifts donated after our rose shows.


Note:  A special thank you to Ivy Bodin for leading the group in this effort. Pruning shrubs, old garden roses, romanticas and the like require a different "hand" than most of us are use to.  His patient leadership and teaching provided a rich training ground for each of us. 

Also to Joyce Raymer, who feeds us not only with delicious food but nurtures her friends with love and care. Your spirit is what makes CCRS so very special.

Sharon McColgan has brought sunshine and friendly leadership to CCRS, we are very blessed to have Sharon as CCRS President, we are delighted to share her many gifts at CCRS.  Thanks Sharon.

We treasure you Ivy, Joyce and Sharon and thank you again for helping our dear Gwen in such a special way.

Brenda Landers-Smith, V.P. 


Gwen lost her battle with cancer, October 30, 2007.

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