A 'Waterwise' Garden Honors City Volunteer, Activist White

For her love of trees and volunteer efforts to make Anaheim a beautiful place to live, Sally White on Thursday received a living tribute: a water-conserving garden dedicated in her honor.

City officials unveiled Anaheim's first "waterwise" garden, planted at the Amtrak station next to Edison International Field.

"This is a well-deserved tribute to a great volunteer," Mayor Tom Daly said.

Daly unveiled a plaque, placed on a boulder in the garden, that dedicates the potpourri of plants--selected for their colors, contrasts and shapes--to White, a 45-year resident and a founding member of Anaheim Beautiful in 1970.

City Manager James D. Ruth, who has known White for more than 20 years, said her motives are always for the betterment of the community. Dedicating the "living garden" to White, who turns 85 today, "is just a small token of our appreciation," Ruth said.

White's contributions to the community includes founding ReLeaf Anaheim, which has planted more than 3,000 trees in the city since 1992. She was also instrumental in the development of Julianna Street Park and finding a location for the Brookhurst Community Center. As an Orange County Harbors, Beaches and Parks commissioner for the past 18 years, she has helped with projects countywide. White also came up with the idea for the Mito Sister City Japanese Garden at City Hall.

"She's a dedicated community volunteer and activist who really has worked over the years to make Anaheim a beautiful place," said Councilwoman Shirley McCracken. "She's challenged council members and supervisors because she has cared about Anaheim and the county."

Over the years, White, a retired real estate agent, has been given numerous awards for her community involvement, but said this latest honor, was a surprise.

"It's just overwhelming. I can't believe it," she said. "This is the last thing on Earth I expected. I've always believed that as long as you get the job done, and it's working, that's the reward."

The garden, consisting of mostly native, drought-tolerant plants, was paid for by a portion of a county transportation grant. It is intended to give the public a chance to learn practical water-saving landscape ideas, officials said. More than half of the water used in a typical home is used outdoors. By reducing water usage on landscaping, it can result in both financial savings and environmental benefits by saving water resources, officials said.

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