Volunteer gardener still going strong

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June Zhiss volunteers her time and talent to care for two community gardens in addition her own. (Press photo by Austin Greve)

By Caroline Rosacker

Even when weather conditions are favorable planting, watering, weeding, and caring for a flowerbed is hard work. This summer's excessive heat, humidity, and lack of rain have sent dedicated gardeners scrambling to keep precious plants alive. 

Guttenberg school district's longtime second grade teacher, June Zhiss, volunteers her time and talent to care for Trinity Lutheran Missouri Synod Church garden, Guttenberg Golf and Country Club garden and her own, which was voted Guttenberg's "Yard of the Month" in July. 

Walk with God

The ninety-year-old recently added a unique display to The Trinity Lutheran Church garden located on the north side of the building. She and the late Gertrude Brase began caring for the garden after the old landscaping was removed many years ago. "Gertrude and I laid down many loads of rock and planted flowers donated by church members to complete the existing garden," she explained. 

June created small signs that gently remind parishioners and people passing by to "Walk with God" and added a variety of shoes purchased at Goodwill and placed them along an existing path that winds through the garden. "My daughter Mitch came up with the idea," she noted. 

Water, weed, deadhead, repeat

The Zhiss name has been synonymous with the Guttenberg Golf Course and Country Club for decades. 

June's late husband, Paul "Zig" Zhiss was a longtime educator and successful golf coach with the Guttenberg School District. Together, the couple inspired the love of golf in their own children and grandchildren. June's son, Scott Zhiss of Winthrop, followed in his father's footsteps and stepped into the role as East Buchanan Community School District's high school golf coach. Scott led his golf team to win two state titles and two runner ups.

For June it made perfect sense to help cultivate a flower garden at the family's beloved course. "With the help of Janice Andregg and Sonja Bush, the three of us keep the country club garden in tip-top shape. However, I am ready to share some of the responsibility if anybody is interested," she concluded with a smile. 

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