Abigail Hansen, 3, helps water the newly dedicated Children's Garden.
BETHLEHEM The Bethlehem Garden Club is working to get younger generations more interested in local horticulture.
Through the work of former club President Phyllis Howell, the garden adjacent to Town Hall has been revamped. Because of its close proximity to the town playground and the interest shown by kids when they visit the area, the former plot has been changed into an official Children’s Garden.
The club's community Project's Chair Virginia Aquaria said although the garden is small, the goal is for the patch to inspire children and parents to either create their own gardens or visit local nature conservancies and botanical gardens together.
“It’s about going back to basics and away from plastic packages of carrots and foodstuffs,” she said. “Our quest in going forward is that we are serious about using the earth and teaching what it can give us, instead of buying commercialized things.”
The garden is currently in the beginning stage of its transformation. A sign was built and erected by resident horticulture enthusiast Bob Horn and Howell has worked to decorate the garden with animal statutes to act as small hidden treasures for the children to find.
Howell said she would eventually like to plant indigenous wildflowers and plants in the garden, along with some strawberry plants so kids can pick berries when they visit.
“The woods are disappearing and (younger generations) may not have the chance to remember all of the plants we have,” she said. “It’s important for them to know the history of the beautiful things that grew here.”
The Garden Club had originally thought of including a butterfly garden at the location, but the conditions weren’t right for a butterfly habitat. Howell said butterflies need dense plant life and a more shaded area in order to feel secure enough to lay eggs and the area doesn’t provide enough water. The idea then morphed into something different that could provide children with an interest in planting.