Who We Are
Garden Design and Maintenanace
The Tuesday morning gardening of the Civic Beautification Committee focuses on the town gardens that the club has established. The largest area of work is the public library gardens. There we tend the plantings in front of the library entrance, the circular bed and the other island beds in the parking area. We also maintain the corner garden, at the intersection of Meetinghouse Lane and Center Road, which greets visitors from the south arriving at our town center. Regular work is done at the front sign area and the perennial herb garden at the museum entrance of the Thomas Darling House on Litchfield Turnpike, home of the Amity and Woodbridge Historical Society. Additionally we maintain the Secret Garden created for seniors participating at the Center School based Senior Center and the 9/11 Memorial Garden at the Town Firehouse, commemorating first responders to the 9/11 tragedy.
The designs of these gardens is attributed to club members and their funding for installation and maintenance is made possible through the generosity of the Ethel and Abe Lapides fund, bequests of club members and our annual fund raising events.
In addition to our garden maintenance work, we regularly plant daffodils in the fall to further beautify the town. In the fall of 2012 we planted daffodils at the entrance to the Woodbridge Park Association’s Alice Newton Street Memorial Park, between the Town Hall and the First Church of Christ, along the west side of the barn along Litchfield Turnpike at the Thomas Darling House and in beds at Massaro Farm. Previous daffodil plantings have included the stonewall and the beds of the Woodbridge Firehouse, the Corner Bed and the Library gardens.
The circular bed is the focal area of the library garden and has been designed, with native perennials, to attract butterflies and birds. The center of the bed hosts a Butterfly Bush (Buddlea), and is surrounded by grasses and flowering perennials that provide a succession of blooms and seed heads from spring to fall, which serve as food for butterflies, other pollinators and birds. In the outer ring of the bed, blooms begin with early Daffodils and Creeping Phlox and finish with Sedum and Dwarf New England Aster. Wave Petunias and Dusty Miller, both annuals, provide diversity of color, texture and form. This year, we have included annual Sunflowers in the outer circle to coordinate with a library program which enabled children to obtain and plant sunflowers from seed, complements of the library.
The beds on both sides of the library entrance have also been planted with perennials, which provide food and habitat for insects and birds. Seasonal annuals are sparsely interspersed by the bench and on either side of the library.
Created by the club and planted by an Eagle Scout candidate, this garden is only partially visible from the sidewalk outside Center School and the windows inside the Senior Center. Enough can be glimpsed to intrigue the passerby. Upon approaching the entrance gate, the geometric structure of the garden draws the visitor in, directly toward the focal point of a sundial and the inviting wooden bench at the back garden wall. The view shed includes flowering shrubs, perennials, and a gravel path edged with brick.
Senior Secret Garden
Senior Vegetable Garden
The Senior Vegetable Garden is located in the courtyard of Center School. The garden came about through a Special Project fund of the Garden Club of Woodbridge. The vegetables and herbs grown here are donated to the Senior Center who uses the products for the lunches served at the Senior Center on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each year, his garden is planted and maintained by the Garden Club of Woodbridge members and Richard, a volunteer resident of Woodbridge.
Adella Baldwin Stuart Garden - Corner Garden
On the 30th anniversary of the club in 1963, a garden was planted at the corner of Center Road and Meetinghouse Lane. This garden was dedicated to the memory of Adella Baldwin Stuart, a charter member and first President of the Garden Club of Woodbridge. Shrubs and perennial plantings above a natural stone retaining wall, donated by the club in 1996, serve as a backdrop for the triangular perennial bed. This garden welcomes visitors to the town center.
Thomas Darling House Perennial Herb Garden
The herb garden at the Darling House, home of the Amity and Woodbridge Historical Society, located on Litchfield Turnpike, was designed and planted by the club in 2007. An Eagle Scout built the wooden post fence which surrounds it, as well as the bench and arbor near the museum door.
While research did not provide us with early garden information about the site, it is probable that the Darlings had a kitchen garden near the entrance to the house. So, a garden was designed to demonstrate what could have existed at the time the Darlings built and occupied the house, in essence a Colonial garden. Beds that were located close to the house provided easy access to the most used and needed herbs for household, medicinal and culinary uses. The location of this new garden was selected to enhance the museum entrance, rarely a reason for a garden in Colonial times. Placement would have been for functional rather than aesthetic purposes.
Other characteristics of Colonial gardens include the planting of herbs amongst perennial and annual flowers, as well as vegetables. Single specimens of plants were used, rather than the massing of a particular species that we see in contemporary beds. Gardens are geometrically shaped with central paths to doors and cross paths to enable proper tending of the garden. Beds were often raised for improve drainage by laying wood or stone and they were edged with hedges of boxwood or enclosed by a wall or fence. There was often a central focal point, or feature, in the garden.
All of these known characteristics were contemplated in the design process. The final design is close to the house, uses single specimen of perennials introduced or available prior to 1776, is enclosed by a wooden fence, is composed of geometric beds edged with stones from the site, and focuses the eye on an arbor and bench at the back of the garden close to the museum entrance. For cost and maintenance purposes only perennials were selected for the planting plan. All of the plants utilized in this plan had a functional use, which is specified on the information handout, Plants of the Thomas Darling House Perennial Garden. This educational aspect of the garden greatly increases the value and understanding of an attractive welcoming garden.
View a copy of the Darling House herb garden chart here.
Firehouse 9/11 Memorial Garden
The club created and planted a garden to enhance the experience of visiting the 9/11 Memorial site established in the front of the Firehouse by the Woodbridge Volunteer Fire Department. The Fire Department obtained a piece of steel beam from the World Trade Center and created a memorial with the steel beam and a reflecting pool as its focal point with a stone walkway linking it to the sidewalks around the firehouse.
To accentuate the beam and help lead visitors to the beam and pool, the design incorporated some of the original evergreen foundation plantings to offer stability to the design in winter months, when perennials would be dormant. To provide visual weight to either end of the front façade of the firehouse and to anchor the steel beam, Laceleaf Japanese Maples (Acer palmatum ‘Tamukeyama’) were planted at each end of the building. Their weeping form echoes the feelings of grief and sadness associated with tragic events of 9/11/2001. Their leaf color is intentionally similar to the beam. Their growth habit and careful pruning will keep them shorter in stature than the beam. To further repeat this color, Heuchera x ‘Carmel’ has been planted in clusters between the building and walkway and cluster of Dwarf Barberry (Berberis thunbergii ‘Bagatelle’) were planted near the firehouse sign. Complementing the rusty tones, Blue Star Juniper has been planted near the firehouse sign and Dwarf Blue Fountain Grass ( ‘Elijah Blue’) has been planted along all sides of the walkway, with Sedum ‘lidakense’ merging the two colors. Creeping phlox was planted intermittently around the walkway to provide spring color. A limited use of annuals, mums and kale in the fall and creeping petunias in the spring, assist in providing another dimension of color to visitors and are easy to maintain.
This aids in another of the plan’s goals, providing a low maintenance garden for a primarily full-sun location. The plant selection provides year round color as well as great contrast in form and texture. No shrub, perennial or annual used in the design other than the original boxwoods, will exceed two feet in height. The intent is to never have the garden detract from the focal point.