Museum Landscaping

by Sue Rankin
Issue No. 255 - July 1994

At its March meeting, the Board of Directors authorized the Museum Exterior Committee to undertake the renovation of the garden beds at the Museum and provided a budget for this purpose. In the April issue of the Crystal Ball a request for non skilled labor was published requesting assistance for this effort on Saturday, May 7 - rain date May 14.

Due to limited response by our members, Doyle Hanes, Chairman of the committee, undertook to secure a plan from professional landscaping services in the Cambridge vicinity. He secured a plan and circulated it to the Board for their approval. The plan presented was for cleanup, installation of 10 plants and mulch. The cost of $750 outstripped our budget.

After reviewing the plan, Dave and I talked to Doyle and our friends in the Miami Valley Study Group and concluded that we could still supply the labor and do the job of providing attractive low maintenance landscaping at the Museum without exceeding the budget. So began the project.

Saturday, April 23, Joe and Sharon Miller, members of the Cambridge Cordials Study Group, used Roundup on the visible weeds. One week later Dave and I made the 320-mile round trip to Cambridge and sprayed the parking lot to kill the grass and weeds there. We also measured the planting beds, located and tried to identify the existing plants, in order to draw a proper plan.

Home again, the research began. Working with a local nursery, we devised a three-stage plan that we believe is cost effective, low maintenance and attractive.

We rescheduled the workday to May 14, which was lucky since it rained on May 7. Ken Rhoads picked up the plants on the 13th. Loaded down with wheelbarrows, plants, rakes, shovels, pruners, gloves and much more, ten of us headed off to Cambridge.

We arrived about 9:45 a.m. to find Charles Upton and Joe Miller hard at work whacking weeds in the ditches and around the storage building where they could not mow. Doyle Hanes was supervising and acting as gofer. The sky was clear and the sun was strong. We donned our gloves and started moving rocks, and moved more rocks, and more rocks. Once the beds in front of the building were clear, we dug them, amended them with peat moss, planted four shrubs and transplanted one shrub from the entrance bed. The shrubs used were two Taxus x Media "Hicksii" and two Spirea "Goldmound." The Taxus will provide height at each end, and the Spirea will provide colorful foliage as well as flowers in late spring and early summer. The shrub that we transplanted is a globe spruce, we think.

After mulching the two front beds, we started moving rocks from the entrance bed. After moving many more rocks and a lunch break, we were ready to plant six Blue Rug junipers. Again, it meant digging the soil, amending the soil with peat moss, leveling the soil and finally, planting. Meanwhile, we pruned existing plants, removed two dead plants and pulled up yards of black plastic mulch through which weeds were growing. Finally, we spread more pine bark mulch - 5 yards in all!

The total cost to the Club - $316.41 Our efforts were complimented on the spot by visitors to the Museum who elected to document their visit by taking their picture standing in the renovated bed with the Museum sign in the background.

While we labored on the planting beds, Joe Miller and Charles Upton spent several hours removing fence posts, rusty fencing, undergrowth including poison ivy and dead branches from one clump of trees. Joe and Charlie generally had a backbreaking time.

Our labors were complete just before 4:00 p.m.. and we adjourned to Brighton's for ice cream before heading home, tired and sunburned.

If our day sounds like fun, and it was, we invite you to join us Saturday, September 17, to carry out stage 2. On that day we plan to plant a Sargent Crab Apple tree, five more Spirea "Goldmound," three Burning Bush, two Red Barberry, one Taxus x Media "Runyon" and many daffodils in the entrance bed.

Early in the Spring 1995, we plan to complete the planting in the entrance bed with the addition of some perennial flowers and ornamental grass.

Work party Work party
Work party Work party
Entrance bed Entrance bed