| Meeting House Hill Gardens|
Wildflower Garden and Daffodil Run
Historically sited where Acton was incorporated in 1735, Meeting House Hill is home to two garden gems. The Wildflower Garden is a tranquil setting of both native and rare woodland plants with its paths guiding the discerning visitor to discover this unexpected collection. More visible with its location along the Rt. 27 corridor is Daffodil Run with its mass of spring blooms that continues with seasonal interest through the fall. While the Acton Garden Club is the caretaker of these gardens, the Town Municipal Properties Department provides continuing assistance.
The Wildflower Garden is a tranquil setting of both native and rare woodland plants with its paths guiding the discerning visitor to discovering this unexpected collection. More visible with its location along the Rt 27 corridor is Daffodil Run with its mass of spring blooms that continues with seasonal interest through the fall. While the Acton Garden Club is the caretaker of these gardens, the Town Municipal Properties Department provides continuing assistance, most recently with the installation of a landmark sign this summer, initiated by the Garden Club, to highlight Acton’s history.
Postscript: A search through the AGC Historical Records mentions the first sign at MHH appeared for the Arbor Day celebration in 1966 culminating in the beautification of this historic site. This corresponds to the original landscape design of this site in the mid-60s initiating the Acton Garden Club’s community involvement. In the fall of 1973, the sign had made its
way to Sandy Hook, NJ along with the Isaac Davis trail sign where a gentleman from Danbury, CT discovered them. His diligent research tracked the signs to Acton, MA and he received permission from the Board of the Acton Historical Society to keep these signs. A letter written by Marian E.H. Houghton from
the Garden Club was sent to this gentleman explaining the MHH sign’s background, including a request for more detailed information. No known correspondence was
received. MHH’s second sign was installed in 1977 by Mrs. Eileen Gerngross, refurbished in early 1981 by Mrs. Cindy Brueck, both garden club members, and eventually disappeared. Consultant and GC member Sue Whitcomb redesigned the expansion of the hidden woodland Wildflower Garden and more visual Daffodil Run. Highlighting public awareness of these garden gems at this historic site was actively sought by the Club, and Sign No. 3 was installed by the Town this past June.
She Town of Acton has several public gardens under the care of the Acton Garden Club. None is lovelier than the Wildflower Garden on Meetinghouse Hill. The garden space is an oasis of calm and beauty. At its most glorious in the spring with showstopper plants like trillium, Adonis, orchids and Jeffersonia, the procession of beautiful, native wildflowers continues through the purples of Iris cristata, stoloniferous phlox and roof iris, green and gold zizia, delightful purple and white anemone and the fabulous Jack-in-the-pulpits. Each bed contains a plethora of beautiful specimens which change from day to day and week to week as they sprout, blossom and make way for the next lovely bloom.
Two large invasive Norway Maple trees were removed from the garden in 2015 due to infestation. The adjacent garden beds have since improved remarkably. The garden is divided into several beds. Some hold cherished trillium and cypripedium plants. The large hillside garden contains a mixed planting of flowering trees, bushes and wildflowers. All established beds are edged, weeded and maintained by a group of incredibly dedicated AGC members who arrive for work days with enthusiasm and good humor. Maintaining this garden is a labor of love to which the team is committed. Fundamental to the development and maintenance of the garden is the direction and inspiration of Sue Whitcomb.
As the garden has become established, it has become more of a three-season delight. Many new shrubs were added through the generosity of Fred Knipple and have improved the all season interest in the garden. Later blooming wildflowers like chelone, eupatorium and Angelica have extended the season of enjoyment.
With the addition of a picnic table at the back of the garden two years ago, there should be visitors every day dropping in to picnic and witness the beauty of our native wildflowers. Plan an outing and be among them.
Located on the embankment along Main Street near Nagog Hill Road, Daffodil Run is the most visible garden of Meeting House Hill. This historically sited garden displays massive plantings of daffodils, forsythia, and daylilies, with flowering shrubs in the upper garden area. It is a spectacular showcase of gorgeous spring and early summer blooms. High school seniors volunteer on ABRHS Community Service Day to rake, fertilize, and mulch the garden at the beginning of the season. New plant material continues to be added to the garden in keeping with its original design.
|| Garden Therapy
From September through May, the Acton Garden Club offers a weekly garden therapy/floral design program to adults hospitalized at Emerson Hospital. Under the supervision of an occupational therapist, two Garden Club members assist patients in creating a colorful design to bring back to their room or share with a family member or friend. Upon our arrival, the patients begin to gravitate to the room bedecked with colorful flowers. The patients are so appreciative, thanking us for doing this. We get more from this activity than the patients. The Garden Club volunteers make this program a delightfully successful program.
Annual Student Scholarships
The Acton Garden Club awards a $2,000 scholarship annually. The winner, an Acton resident from either Acton-Boxborough Regional High School or Minuteman Regional High School of Applied Arts and Sciences, must intend to pursue a career in an area related to the environment. Acceptable areas would be environmental studies, natural resource management, botany and horticulture, conservation, forestry, soil science and agronomy, urban planning or other related disciplines.
This year's recipient was Alexander Surdan, a student at Minuteman
Regional High School of Applied Arts and Sciences. He has been in
the Environmental Science and Technology Program at Minuteman
Tech for all four years of high school. He has had a rigorous academic
schedule of college prep and honors level courses, has participated in
extra-curricular activities that support his interest in the environment,
and seems to have a lot of energy to handle challenges and interests. He
has been accepted at the University of Rhode Island where he plans to
major in Marine Biology.
Acton Garden Club Educational Grant
The The Acton Garden Club has established, initially with memorial gifts
from friends and family, a grant program in memory of two longtime
members, Janet Bubier and Elinor Miller. This grant opportunity in the
amount of $50-$500 is open to any full-time employee of the Town
of Acton or any designated representative of a Town organization. It
provides funds for horticultural or environmentally related programs or
projects. The grant is available annually, subject to the approval of the Finance
Committee and the Board of the Acton Garden Club. The Board
determines the procedure for application and award.
Two grants were awarded in 2015-2016. Valerie Glod received a grant
for two Classroom Gardens. This project teaches students about designing
and growing a complete vegetable and flower garden. Eileen Sullivan
and Jean Oviatt-Rothman received a grant for Nature Playgrounds. This
project allows children to interact with nature during recess at all of the
school playgrounds in Acton. The boundaries of the playground will
include native plantings and there will be a planting box for children to
plant acorns, pinecones or whatever interests them.
The Junior Gardeners' program is open to the children and grandchildren
of Acton Garden Club members. This group has been dedicated
to promoting educational
that strive to teach children
a love of gardening,
an appreciation of nature’s beauty,
the value and protection of our natural resources.
provides a forum in which to teach children responsibility
toward civic beautification and methods of cultivation and utilization of plants to enhance our quality of life.
Due to diminishing enrollments as children outgrow the program, the Junior Gardeners program is currently inactive, but we hope to renew this program in the near future
Annual Plant Sale
The Annual Plant Sale is a Club-wide event held the third Saturday in
May and is the primary fund raiser for the organization. This year the sale
was held on the grounds of the "Red House", 468 Main Street, next to
Town Hall. The emphasis at the sale is on "Local" with about 2000 plants
donated from Club members, the Garden Club maintained town gardens,
as well as Sue Whitcomb’s gardens, coupled with bare root daylilies
donated through the generosity of Fred Knipple. These are supplemented
with annuals and vegetables purchased through two of our local farms,
Stonefield and Cucurbit.
In addition to the plants for sale, the club has a table with information
about the Garden Club as well as gardening related topics to educate the
public. The tips offered vary each year, but in the past have included such
concerns as water-wise gardening, deer resistant plants, ticks, pollinators,
shade plants as well as other pertinent topics. Tickets are sold for a raffle
with gardening related prizes.
The Annual Plant Sale is truly a total membership event, where every
volunteer, including the children and spouses of club members, is needed
and appreciated and gives at full capacity. This is when the Acton Garden
Club shines at its best.
Gardening with Young People
The Gardening with Young People Program is designed to meet with different
groups of young people from the Acton-Boxborough community
who are invited to participate in a hands-on educational project involving
one or more of the following concentrations: horticulture, floral design,
conservation, civic beautification and garden therapy. The Gardening
with Young People Program provides assistance and funding, if necessary.
It also provides education and assistance in coordination with the
Garden Club’s Educational Grant.
This committee has an ongoing relationship with the Acton-Boxborough
Regional School District. It functions in both a consultative and handson
supervisory role with the elementary schools’ teachers and students in
their pollinator gardens. Additionally it has a strong relationship with the
A B Buddies program at the Acton-Boxborough Regional High School.
The committee meets with this after-school club multiple times a year to
arrange flowers for an event or for the students’ families or plant flowers
on the school grounds or in pots to be taken home. The committee welcomes
opportunities to work with other groups in the community.
The community-wide Earth Day celebration was not held this year. Our interest continues, and we hope to participate in future years.
In order to provide up-to-date information on environmental issues to Club members, 'Conservation Tips' are given at the monthly Club meetings.
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