Cape Fear Hero: Phyllis Meole holds passion for Ability Garden program

By Bob Townsend - bio | email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - When you come home after a hard day, doesn't it feel good just to hang out in the garden, putter with a few plants, rip weeds from the pathways?

For many people, what once were simple tasks like those can become obstacles to practicing favorite activities such as gardening.   For those who love to work with plants and bushes, but can't do it like they used to, there is a place in Wilmington to help them out.

Formal programs, like the county's Ability Garden program, recognize and use the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of gardening to help the people who sign up in their program.

Fortunately for people struggling with possible limitations, gardening is an activity that can be adapted for all sorts of special needs.

Phyllis Meole has been in charge of New Hanover County's Ability Garden for the past 11 years.

"We have several groups come together each week and we try to help them get used to doing things they once did, including gardening," said Meole.

Many of the plants that she has helped others grow are sold at local plant sales, including the Wilmington Garden Show each February, and the money raised is returned into the local program.

County Extension Director Al Hight says the program has helped a lot of people who otherwise would have had to give up gardening altogether.

"This is just one of the things we do at the Cooperative Extension Service to help regain their confidence, and Phyllis does a great job with it," said Hight.

For her dedicated service of the past decade to the Ability Garden and those it serves, WECT names Phyllis Meole the November Cape Fear Hero.

Phyllis gets not only a plaque for her service, but also a $500 gift certificate from Reed's Jewelers.

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