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Garden Club plant sale at Mittineague Park May 18 -19

Date: 5/16/2012

May 16, 2012

By Lori Szepelak

WEST SPRINGFIELD — "We are a grassroots group of town residents who love trees," Diane Crowell said during a get-together in the greenhouse at Mittineague Park on May 10.

Several members of the West Springfield Garden Club are on an ad hoc committee called "Trees for Merrick," which is working with town officials to replace trees that were lost in the Merrick neighborhood during the June 1, 2011 tornado.

In the past few weeks, members of the committee have been canvassing neighborhoods in search of gardeners who might be willing to donate a perennial or two to the garden club's plant sale on May 18 and 19 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Santa House at Mittineague Park. Gardening businesses are also welcome to donate plants for the sale.

Charlotte Pasquerella, president of the garden club, noted during an interview with Reminder Publications that the organization has voted to donate $3,000 to tree replacement.

"Now we have to raise the funds," she said, standing inside the club"s greenhouse on the park grounds.

The annual plant sale will feature hundreds of plants grown by club members in the greenhouse, as well as hundreds of perennials donated by town residents. Most plants range in price from $1 to $5 each. For starters, there are a variety of mums, day lilies, iris, phlox, wild ginger, hosta, hanging baskets and annuals, as well as rhubarb plants and red maple trees that will be available for sale.

Pasquerella noted that the annual plant sale has always relied on its own members to share the perennials from their gardens.

This spring, a Dear Gardeners letter was distributed around town and has yielded a "terrific"response, according to Pasquerella.

"We can pick up any plants you have, and we'll even help dig them up if you'd like," added Pat Garbacik, who penned the letter.

The re-greening of the Merrick area started in earnest last fall, when 74 trees were planted by committee members. Trees that were planted included maples, American elm, flowering cherry, zelicova and linden.

Committee members did their homework to ensure that the trees planted included several that would flower in the spring or fall, and could withstand wind, sand, salt and pollution. "Trees for Merrick" members include Garbacik, Crowell, Howard Fife, Mary Anne O'Connor, Julie Schlobohm, Ed Parent, Kate Blanchard and Fred Gawron.

This fall, members will once again plant trees and donations are still welcome to help fund the Help Plant A Tree for Merrick fund-raiser. To make a donation in any denomination, checks can be sent to West Side Neighborhood Rehab, c/o Julie Schlobohm, 52 Poplar Ave., West Springfield, MA 01089. Checks should be made payable to "West Side Neighborhood Rehab" and"and individuals should write "Trees for Merrick" on the memo line.

For more information on donating perennials for the public sale, contact Garbacik at 732-7607 or O'Connor at 733-4628.

For residents in the Merrick neighborhood who are interested in adopting a tree this fall in the front of their home, contact Crowell at 734-8188.

"It's wonderful to think of how the perennials you're thinning out this spring will help the hearts of our neighbors in Merrick," Garbacik added.

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