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Greenhouse sale benefits area’s disabled

The residents of West Alabama Mental Health Center’s Spring Hill home in southeast Demopolis are particular about their plants.

Flowerbeds and vegetable gardens dot the lawns around each residential unit, and their planters – the mentally ill or developmentally disabled patients WAMHC caters to – work hard to keep them beautiful.

“Rosie snuck in and planted some watermelons here in Jimmy’s flowerbed,” Residential Coordinator Wendy Gagliano told WAMHC’s executive director, Kelley Parris-Barnes. “They hadn’t gotten any bigger than peas, but Jimmy saw them and pulled them up.”

One corner of the Spring Hill facility, though, is fully dedicated to horticulture.

Known as “The Bird House,” residents grow bedding plants and hanging baskets of all types in the greenhouse. Open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, the proceeds from “The Bird House” fund WAMHC programs, and its upkeep helps consumers “develop employment and independent living skills.”

Next Friday, WAMHC will host its 2006 Spring Fling at The Bird House. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 28, there will be food and fun for the public, as well as plants for sale.

The Bird House was donated to WAMHC by Jim Bird and named in honor of both Bird and the late Eleanor “Sister” Bird.

The Bird House is located at 1300 Old Springhill Road, off U.S. Highway 80 near the eastern edge of Demopolis. WAMHC is a non-profit organization, so all contributions are tax deductible. For more information, call Patricia Perry Moore at 289-2410.