The June 30 dedication ceremony for a new garden in Milton attracted the mayor and town council members, but perhaps the most important guests were butterflies and bees.
The Women’s Club of Milton spearheaded the garden on Union Street, next to the Lydia B. Cannon Museum.
It is a pollinator garden, filled with plants that attract pollinating insects. The garden is in front of the former home of Carol Thomas, a founder of the Women’s Club, who passed away in 2016.
The dedication was an emotional experience for Kathryn Grieg and Maureen Blasick, two women’s club members who spearheaded the garden effort.
“I’m beyond words,” Grieg said.
“I’m amazed,” Blasick said. “We did this with a lot of audacity of hope. We’ve had so much help. When I think of this, I think of community.”
Indeed, the garden was a group effort. Besides the Women’s Club, help came from volunteers from Milton Garden Club, town employees, town council members and employees at Dogfish Head Brewery. The garden got its first financial backing with a $500 grant from Milton Community Foundation. The Milton Historical Society provided the land; the society purchased Thomas’ house after her death.
“It’s been such a great experience,” Blasick said. “A lot of hard work, but it’s been worth it.”
Work began in the spring and took three months. Because the plants are perennials, the hard work is mostly done, but Grieg said the next part of the project is identification tags for all the plants. The Women’s Club would like to turn the garden into an attraction for local school students to learn about pollinator plants.
President of the Milton Community Foundation Steve Crawford said, “I thought it was a wonderful opportunity for the foundation to support one of its reasons for being. That is, to make Milton a better place to work, play and visit.”
Councilman Sam Garde served as the town’s liaison to the women’s club for the project.
“We’re a small town, but we have many opportunities for interested people to volunteer their services to improve the quality of life for all our residents, and the pollinator preserve is one of the most recent examples of the type of collaboration and cooperation achieved in the town of Milton,” he said.
Linda King, president of the women’s club, said the club plans to enter the garden in the competition for the General Federation of Women’s Clubs community improvement award, a national and state competition for community service projects among women’s clubs nationwide. The grand prize is $5,000.
“It’s pulled everyone together. It’s given Miltonians one more thing to be proud of in their town. Sometimes the smallest things we can do in our communities can have the greatest impact,” King said.