Dig In At The Library!

Chelmsford Library Educational GardenLast night my daughter shared a list that she wrote when she was five. (She is closing in on 13 now…) It was a list of the things she loved best about her mother. She loved that her mom gave her lots of hugs and kisses. She loved that her mom made her good dinners. She loved that her mom laughed at the movies with her. Ok, I said to myself; that all sounds positive – She thinks that I’m a pretty good mother!

But number one on her list was that she loved that her mom had a green thumb. I read it again. A green thumb – not a black one. “Iris” – I said, “Are you sure this is your handwriting? Do you still think I have a green thumb?” She began to laugh -“Um, no Mom, you kill the hanging plants on the porch every year.” “Then why did you say it when you were five?” “Oh,” she said, “I’m sure all the other kids were saying it about their moms and it sounded good at the time…”

Hmmph. While it may be true that plastic plants have a better chance of surviving under my not so watchful watering eye – it is not that I don’t appreciate the art of growing beautiful plants. And as an enthusiastic cook, I especially appreciate the art of growing edible plants. I just don’t happen to have a talent for growing things.

But fortunately at the library we have a group of people who do have that talent. On a recent Saturday, the Country Lane Garden Club, along with family and friends, gathered to dedicate the Heritage Garden in front of the Adams section of the library building.

You may have noticed it… it is the beautiful garden that embraces our flag pole (see photos of the Garden). We think of it as our circle of generosity. The garden was first started with seed money from the Country Lane Garden Club and the Friends of the Chelmsford Public Library. The Friends also donated the big granite sign. The flagpole was donated by the Rotary Club of Chelmsford and the granite benches encircling the garden were donated by friends and family in memory of Steve Maloney, our library trustee who passed away in 2006. Our thanks to all who gave to make the Heritage Garden possible!

This organic garden was designed by Chelmsford resident Sue Spicer, a landscape design specialist and it is lovingly taken care of by the Country Lane Garden Club. It features native New England plants that were growing at the time the Adams Library was built in 1894. While it is a 19th century-style garden, it combines historic character with an eye to the contemporary advantages of sustainability. Plants were chosen that were low maintenance and the old-fashioned method used to plant the garden – preserving the sod and building a new garden’s soil up in soil layers – is especially beneficial to the environment.

I invite you to drop by, pick out a book, and go read it on one of the benches outside while you breathe in the scent of thyme and chives. Perhaps these culinary herbs will entice you to read something like Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs, a humorous novel about a celebrity chef turning fifty and not loving it. Or the serenity of the spot might inspire you to pick up a copy of Stanley Kunitz’s The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden or The Gardens of Emily Dickinson by Judith Farr. You could also puzzle your way through a gardening mystery – check out titles by Janis Harrison and Ann Ripley.

The beautifully layered composition of the garden might inspire you to dig a few holes and put in a few plants yourself. (On your own land, not the library’s…) You might want to check out one of the recent gardening books we added in honor of the garden. Try Lasagna Gardening with Herbs : Enjoy Fresh flavor, Fragrance, and Beauty with No Digging, No Tilling, No Weeding, No Kidding! by Patricia Lanz or Native Plants of the Northeast: A Guide for Gardening and Conservation by Leopold Donald Joseph. For a list of these and other garden-inspired titles, check out our website at www.chelmsfordlibrary.org. Happy reading and sowing!