Despite the heat, about 20 locals raked up leaves and carried fallen branches to the curb on Saturday, Sept. 23
Some Ormond Beach residents have gotten married in the gardens of the Ormond Memorial Art Museum, while others use the green space for playing with their kids, reading or even for doing tai chi, said Museum Director Susan Richmond.
But after Hurricane Irma knocked down trees and scattered branches and leaves all over the gardens, about 20 community members rallied to pick up the mess on Saturday, Sept. 23.
"We exist because people support us," Richmond said. "We're a small organization, and people volunteer in different ways, but it's usually helping to hang an art exhibit or volunteering at a reception or at a children's program. This is so physical; it would really be beyond us."
While Richmond praises the museum's longtime gardener, Janett Taylor, she said they appreciate all the help they can get to restore the grounds.
"The community loves it," Richmond said. "Look at them showing up to help."
In Oct. 2016, Hurricane Matthew took more of a toll on the gardens, as it caused structural damage to the gazebo and cottage. Richmond said she thinks the gardens didn't have as much damage this time for Irma because a lot of the low-lying branches were already gone and clipped back by volunteers after Matthew.
"These gardens are such a special place," Richmond said. "When you get in here, listen. Well, right now, you hear debris, but you'd never know you were in the middle of Ormond Beach. It's such a little oasis for people."