Dorchester Garden Club’s WWII Memorial Garden

Overview of the WWII Memorial Garden with dappled sunlight from the rear.

Overview of the WWII Memorial Garden with dappled sunlight from the rear.

CAMBRIDGE — The Dorchester Garden Club, which will celebrate its 90th anniversary in 2020, has a long history of service and community involvement to the Dorchester County community. This is the first in a series of articles to highlight the civic improvement gardens the club members are actively engaged in to help protect and restore the quality of our environment.

Located along the beautiful Cambridge waterfront at Long Wharf Park on Water Street is the WWII Memorial Garden. In the early 2000s, the American Legion Post 91 approached the Dorchester Garden Club’s Civic Improvement Committee to help establish a new garden at the existing memorial. The committee, headed at the time by club members Faye Phillips and Joan P. Johnson, worked with Jim Benjamin from the Legion to get the project started.

Dorchester Garden Club member and award winning artist, Carla Huber, was commissioned to work with local garden centers to develop the design for the new garden. “The project had special meaning to me as my father was a career officer who had served in WWII” recalls Ms. Huber, adding “In planning the design itself, I felt it needed an evergreen structure for year-round interest with the addition of other plants for touches of color. I chose red as the dominant color in the carpet roses, Fire Power Nandina and Crimson Pygmy Barberry as a reference to the blood shed by those brave soldiers.”

The garden has grown and changed over time, as gardens do, with the support and dedication of a number of volunteers dedicated to maintaining and refurbishing the garden. “Raking, edging, clipping, mulching, disposing of debris and watering is only part of the seasonal story” comments current Dorchester Garden Club’s Civic Improvement Chairperson, Cookie Brohawn.

In recent years, many of the hollies had become diseased and unsightly and needed to be replaced with some new shrubs. Enter the Dorchester Garden Club, American Legion Post 91 and the skill, brawn and hands of many volunteers. Some volunteer veterans dug the old shrubs out, and Bill Kirtland, husband of DGC member, Anne Kirtland, planted hydrangeas in their place. Last year, David Adams, a new member of the Dorchester Garden Club and now co-chair of the Civic Improvement Committee, worked with Bill Kirtland to plant several red knockout roses between the blooming hydrangeas and tall green arborvitae in the background.

The final touch was the placement of mulch by the American Legion Post 91 veterans. Local merchants Mowbray’s Garden Center; Emily’s Produce and Katie Mae’s Country Shoppe have all had a hand in helping with the purchase of the new shrubs. “The Knockout roses when they bloom are a wonderful bright red addition to the back of this garden” said Cookie, adding “In March 2017, the Dorchester Garden Club planted some poppy rhizomes as a surprise for the veterans and this spring the first of the beautiful ruffled red flowers appeared.”

Philip Tindal, owner of Lawn Irrigation and Lighting Co. in Trappe graciously offered his expertise to get the malfunctioning irrigation system at the WWII Memorial Garden and the nearby Heron Garden back into operation and Jason Seeger and Odie Wheeler with the City of Cambridge have also been very helpful and supportive of the club’s efforts.

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