By Catherine Niessink, chair of Memorial Garden Committee

We have completed two projects: Two years ago, I asked an arborist to check out the trees in the Memorial Garden. While he was at church, Rick Johnson and I asked him to check out some trees on the main property. He looked at the spruce trees in the front  of the church, noted that they were dying, but was not sure how long it would take. In the backyard, he checked out the tree nearest the door, and suggested that we should take it down because if it lost limbs (as it had already done), the limbs would fall on the handicapped parking space there. Matt Johnson, one of People’s people workerbee volunteers, took it down. This year we started looking at the trees again, and noted that in the back, the smaller tree had many bare limbs, and the larger tree had black spots up and down the trunk. Also the spruce trees had been getting worse and worse— ‘spruce die off’. So I called several tree cutting firms, and asked them to come and give bids on cutting the diseased trees, and dealing with the stumps and the tree roots. While the representatives were there, I asked their opinion on the trees. Both the firms said that the middle tree in the back was dying and the big tree had rot in the trunk, showing me the different spots that showed the damage. They also looked at the spruces, and both said that they probably had 2-3 years left before we would have to take them out. So B&G hired one of the firms to take out all the trees, the stumps, and grind the stumps down. They did a wonderful job. It was sad to lose the trees, but I was beginning to worry about their condition more and more.

On a more happy note, the Memorial Garden committee has been thinking for several years (consulting lots of People’s people) about putting an accessibility walk in the Memorial Garden. A walk that would go up to the walls, so that people who have difficulty walking can go near the walls and read the plaques. So this spring the committee hired a landscape architect to design the walk and to oversee the work, and he put out bids for the concrete and cleanup and seeding work. The bidders finished the concrete installation in late July. So now we have an accessible walk to the Memorial Walls. I think it is very cool.

Generally we have been working on the grounds, mowing, weeding, cutting dead trees on the paths, working with Green Sanctuary on insulation, etc., with lots more to do.  We have a lot of work to do this year, since last year was a total loss—we did not do much at all. We could use help on this, since most of the committee members are getting on in years.

We are trying to play catchup.

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