One of the many spots throughout Bethel that the Garden Club maintains each summer. Submitted photo

 

BETHEL — The traffic islands, window boxes at the town office, and the small “Horse Trough” on the back side of the Bethel town common are all planted, watered, weeded and cared for by a group of dedicated volunteers. Many days you may see one of the gardeners early in the morning, before traffic gets heavy, lugging the hose or pulling the weeds. Sometimes you will see one later in the day when the flowers need a drink.

The joy of it, for all of us who do this, is hearing the enthusiastic compliments as people stop at the stop sign. It is always interesting to us that truck drivers are among the most appreciative! It is also fun to answer the questions of tourists like the one who said, “We heard that Bethel has a good shopping area: can you tell us how to get there?” or “Where will the fireworks be?” (this last weekend,) or “Where is a good place for breakfast?” (at 6 a.m., no less!)

The group that has been doing this for 27 years, with the support of the town, chooses the flowers each year, prepares the winter-damaged islands, plants the small plants, and then enjoys coffee and brunch at the Historical Society barn after planting.Then, we all sign up for just one week of watering and weeding. The best part is the camaraderie of the group, and knowing that Bethel is a special place where people care enough to give of their time and their energy to add a bit of beauty.

Footnote:
If you like flowers, check out the Pollinator Garden at the Mahoosuc Land Trust Valentine Conservation Center, 162 North Road: While you are there, take a walk on the trail through the old forest, too. They are both special places.


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