Belle Grove Square gets final trim Garden prepared for winter chill CENTRAL Union Mills * Westminster * Sandymount * Finksburg

November 10, 1992|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

Members of the Women's Club of Westminster put the Belle Grove Square garden to bed for the winter yesterday.

"It's like straightening out the dresser drawers," said Tommy Batten, the club president, whose knees and gloves were covered with soil.

"Once we are done, we can forget about the garden until March," she said.

The continuing care has been one of the 100-member club's projects for nearly 20 years.

While three women clipped and weeded straggling plants from the site, which borders West Green Street, Lura Griswold got a jump on next spring and planted about 60 tulip bulbs.

"We all spend a lot of time on our knees, and it's a strenuous job," said Barbara Peck. "We go home tired and dirty. Those who love gardening take joy in making things pretty."

Trimming the perennial plants, including black-eyed Susans and coral bells, makes them come back stronger and fresher in the spring, said Mrs. Peck.

"We keep the garden attractive all four seasons of the year," she said.

"We plan to have color, from trees and shrubs, all year, too."

Perennials, which bloom every year, are more expensive initially, she said, but they save gardeners dollars in the long run.

The bedtime routine took about two hours as a cool November air quickened the pace. The gardeners left their rakes at home. Leaving the leaves for mulch makes environmental sense.

"More and more, environmentalists advise leaving the leaves on the beds to protect plants and roots in case of a severe winter," said Mrs. Peck. "We'll clear them off in the spring."

The Women's Club spearheaded the park's restoration in 1976, said Mrs. Batten, and has maintained and added to the garden every year. Area businesses donated trees, benches and lights and helped pay to restore a fountain.

The City of Westminster handles pruning and other heavy duties.

Belle Grove Square park dates to 1901, when the Matthews family donated the ground to the city.

"By the early '70s, the grass had become scruffy and raggedy, and the trees hadn't been loved in a long time," said Mrs. Batten.

The Women's Club restored the grounds as a "community heritage to commemorate the bicentennial of American independence," says a plaque on the site.

"We like to think we have helped the city stay aware of its gardens," said Mrs. Peck. "We have several wonderful ones now."

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