As Mufasa lived to take care of little Simba and prepare his son for his role as the future lion king, Burns and Roberts share a passion for helping, making Burns and Roberts among a large group of garden club women who have devoted much of their adult lives to making Rome a more beautiful place to live for future generations.
Georgia Burns moved to Rome a little over 30 years ago when her late husband Tom Burns opened an automobile dealership.
She was invited to join the Three Rivers Garden Club shortly after moving to Rome and has had her hands on the effort to beautify Rome ever since.
“I really think it’s important for us to take care of the earth and I know that the things that I have learned by being a member of the garden club have helped me to be able to do that,” Burns said. “The whole cycle of things growing, some things going into dormancy and then coming back is just a beautiful process.
“I just like so many different kinds of flowers, shrubs and trees. I live in the woods so I don’t have enough sunshine to grow a lot of flowers. I think my trees are very important.”
Burns said that keeping the community clean and beautiful is important for a lot reasons. “I think that helps out mental health as well,” Burns said.
She has been a member of the Three Rivers Garden Club for 33 years. In addition to serving as president of the club on three different occasions, Burns has also been president of the Federated Garden Clubs of Rome, co-director of the Laurel District of the Garden Clubs of Georgia on two occasions. She has also served on the state board of the Garden Clubs of Georgia.
In addition to serving the garden club, Burns has been very active on the board of Keep Rome-Floyd Beautiful and has served as a member of the city of Rome’s reorganized Tree Board for the past decade.
“I’ve tried to be a good leader as well as a good member,” Burns said.
Pam Roberts has been actively working to make Rome a prettier place to live for about 37 years as a member of the Townview Garden Club.
Her mother, Betty Peartree, introduced Roberts to gardening at an early age. She joined the Townview club in September 1974.
Like Burns, Roberts has served as president of the Townview club, and the local federation, co-director and treasurer of the Laurel District. She has served as a Landscape Design Critic for the Garden Club of Georgia.
Roberts has served as chair for the Clean Community Commission, the predecessor of the Keep Rome-Floyd Beautiful Program, and like Burns, also served on the city’s Tree Board.
“What is there not to like about gardening?” Roberts asked. ‘I’ve learned a tremendous amount and have made some life-long friends.” Part of that learning process has helped Roberts become a Master Gardener. She credits involvement in garden club activity with developing a lot of her leadership skills.
Roberts considers herself as more of a horticulturist than a designer when it comes to flowers.
“I’m not so much into arranging flowers. I would rather grow them and be responsible for them,” Roberts said. “I enjoy the hands on part of it. I like to get my hands dirty.
“I love oakleaf hydrangeas and I’ve suddenly, in the last couple of years, become an orchid person; I used to be afraid of them. I got one as a gift and now I have lots of them. I really enjoy watching them grow and change and come back. I think that’s what I like about horticulture, it comes back, and it’s long living.”