WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Samantha Simpson sees gardening as essential to the "art of happiness.”
It's why she founded the Woodlands High School Gardening Club in September 2014 during her junior year and why the White Plains resident, whose middle name, incidentally, is Rose, feels strongly about doing all she can to beautify her surroundings.
The Club started small, with patches of dirt surrounding the high school campus, adding a variety of flowers and plants such as roses, lilies, butterfly bushes, coneflowers, petunias, and begonias.
With a "blooming" success on their hands, the Club then spread its efforts to the surrounding community, planting gardens at the Metropolis Country Club and the Lee F. Jackson Elementary School playground, both located in White Plains.
“Part of our mission statement is to also help our community, so we collaborated with the Juniper Hill Civic Association to clean up specific areas and get them ready for flowers," explained Simpson.
And, since gardening is not only aesthetic, but practical and educational, that included doing gardening workshops for the Woodlands Middle School. Said Simpson: “We had the students plant a combination of annuals and perennial flowers and taught them the meaning and medicinal purposes of some herbs and flowers."
Though she recently graduated, Simpson said the "green world" is in her future for good. She already has plans to be a volunteer gardener at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut where she will be attending college this fall.
“It's my aspiration to become an educator/teacher, with the dream of one day starting my own school," she said. "I would like to continue to impact lives in a meaningful way.”