Greenhouse helps plants, people grow

Published 12:45 am Saturday, October 24, 2009

The West Alabama Mental Health Center has a greenhouse that not only helps to beautify our area but also provides an occupation for its consumers.

“It’s actually called the Bird House,” said WAMHC executive director Patricia Moore.

“It was donated to us by Jim Bird. One of the projects that we had was a greenhouse to provide an opportunity for our consumers for employment, skills building and independent living.

“We found a wonderful greenhouse manager in Yvonne Buxton, and she has done tremendously, working with the greenhouse and working with the consumers.

“For example, she ordered food coloring, and I asked her about that. She said they have to weed, and to help the consumers with the weed spray, she puts food coloring in it so they can see where they’re spraying, and letting them know that wherever they spray, the red is going to kill that plant.

“That way, they can see where they are spraying and know they are doing it right!”

WAMHC is preparing for its fall plant sale in November, and the greenhouse and the workers are all a part of that.

The six people working in the greenhouse with Buxton are learning a lot about plants and their care.

“Our consumers are working in the greenhouse and in the planters around our facilities,” Moore said. “Yvonne is teaching them about fertilizing and when to use a particular fertilizer.

“She is really doing a wonderful job.”

Buxton has been working in landscaping for more than 20 years, and welcomed the opportunity to work with WAMHC.

“I moved to Alabama looking for something to do with plants,” she said. “I’ve been here since May of this year.”

There is a lot of work to do with raising plants well, and West Alabama Mental Health Center’s greenhouse not only works to improve yards and offices but also the working skills of its consumers.