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franklin county times

Cultura Garden Club holds meeting at Overton Farm

By Susie Hovater Malone

Overton Farm was the setting for the October meeting of the Cultura Garden Club.

Overton Farm is a historic farmhouse near Hodges. It was founded by Abner Overton who purchased 160 acres in the bend of Bear Creek in 1817. The farm was operated by the Overton family until 1946 and was purchased by the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1969 to construct the Bear Creek Dam. The farm was restored by Northwest Alabama State Junior College in the 1970s to use as an educational center, a purpose it kept until 2013. Only two rooms remain of the five-room house that Overton constructed in 1819. Overton Farm was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

The Venue at Overton Farm was renovated in 2022 to bring new life to a historic site in Franklin County. It serves as a place that provides a serene, private setting for events such as weddings, conferences and reunions. It also serves as a site for groups to explore and experience the beauty of the Bear Creek watershed.

Members enjoyed the fall breeze as they observed the foliage, landscape and water from the huge front porch of the dining facility. Delicious refreshments were served by hostesses Patricia Cox, Darlene Hester and myself.

Club President Debbie Nale called the meeting to order and welcomed guests Sandy Weiler, Julie McKinney, Mary Ann Bucholtz and Lela Ray.

Patricia Cox presented the program “Hugelkultur: Layered Mound Gardens.” This technique has been used throughout Europe for hundreds of years. She gave a demonstration of how to make a basic hugelkultur bed.

She began by laying small rotting tree trunks, branches and woody debris then added layers of compost such as leaves, grass clippings, kitchen scraps, etc., finally covering the small mound with a layer of topsoil. She recommended waiting several months before planting to allow materials to settle and the decomposition to progress. Each member received a handout that covered the benefits of Hugelkultur gardening.

Nale gave information on how to bleach pinecones and explained the different ways to use pinecones for decorations.

The business session included the approval of the September minutes; treasurer’s report; and expression of appreciation to Debra Spillers for arranging the fallscapes in downtown; and to Susan Pearson and her husband for their work in designing and setting up the club’s entry for the Chamber’s Pumpkin Palooza display at City Lake.

 Martha Sibley suggested a combined fall painting-get-together with members of Book Lovers Study Club and Cultura Garden Club. There would not be a charge for this creative activity for the members. Selections included painting either a Christmas ornament or a snowman. The membership committee will select the date, place and make arrangements for Lela Ray to lead the members in this fun activity.

Discussion was held regarding the Russellville Main Street projects planned for downtown.  Brenda Oliver and Martha Sibley gave each member cuttings of parachute and purple heart plants.

The meeting closed with the reading of the Garden Club Collect.



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