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Belmont, MA: Cultivating community in Garden

  • Subject: [cg] Belmont, MA: Cultivating community in Garden
  • From: adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 14 Apr 2005 18:12:08 -0400

Cultivating community in garden
By Linda Pinkow
Thursday, April 14, 2005

Ah, spring at last.

     Time to gather up the branches and leaves buried under an exceptionally wintry winter.

     While most Belmontians cultivate their own gardens, some civic-minded residents have been working on the community garden located just beyond the parking lot of the Belmont Memorial Library.

     The Woodland Garden, as it is called, has been a project of the Belmont Garden Club for more than 10 years, according to Nanny Almquist. She serves on the club's Woodland Garden subcommittee along with Susan Marsh and Mark Saidnawey, who is reportedly the club's only current male member.

     Like other Garden Club projects, the Woodland Garden is intended "for the enjoyment of the entire community," said Almquist.

     Last Saturday morning, Marsh, Almquist and Elaine Canina took charge of a spring clean-up in the garden. About a dozen leaf bags were filled by the end of the morning. The women also took time to admire the purple and white flowers poking up through the brush, and to consider where to put new markers to identify the plantings.

     Along with the club members, Karen Smith and Lauren Stone, sixth-graders at Chenery Middle School, were earning community service credit and having fun at the same time.

     "I really like gardening," Karen said. "I've never been here before."

     Lauren, who also enjoys gardening, said she had never worked in this garden before, but "When I was a baby, my mom would bring me here every day."

     Beyond organized clean-ups like this one, the Woodland Garden is also tended by some anonymous benefactors.

     When Marsh arrived at the garden Saturday morning, she found "a couple standing over there, uncovering bulbs." She asked the couple if they were there to help with the spring clean-up, and they replied, "No, we just come every week," Marsh said.

     "The community is certainly welcome to come and enjoy this space," said Marsh. And as Garden Club members know, part of the enjoyment of nature - as well as community - can be found in "taking care of it and helping keep it alive."

      The Garden Club will host future community work days to help with plantings and laying a new path through the Woodland Garden. For more information contact Nanny Almquist at 617-484-4051.

The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org

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