- Eastman Charitable Foundation funded the purchase of trees, bushes, seeds, daffodil bulbs, and soil (lot and lots of soil).
- Dunbar Free Library loaned them a sun plotting gizmo.
- Hortons Farm donated horse manure.
- Dunkin Donuts donated bags of coffee grounds. People dropped off coffee grounds at a pail located at the park entrance.
-Dennis Ryan and fellow Conservation Commission member Dave Wood cut down four white pine trees and pruned some of the apple trees.
- Dick Hocker, another Conservation Commission member and Renee's husband, erected a kiosk at the orchard area which Renee populated with information.
After months of hard work including lugging an enormous amount of soil and planting trees, bushes, seeds, and bulbs; Renee, Kristina, and Patty had created a garden area they could be proud of. I happened upon it in June of 2021 and was so impressed that I wrote a blog post called The Secret Garden. I never knew who was responsible for the sweet garden until recently. (Picture of flowers are the last one in the collage below.)
A few years ago, Marty Gearhart moved to Grantham and joined the Grantham Conservation Commission where she has worked with them on a number of projects including making Grantham a Pollinator Pathway. One link in the pathway chain that needed some more work was that well loved land in Brookside Park where Renee, Kristina, and Patty had made such a difference. Marty formed a team with Renee and Amelia Lantz that I'm calling Phase II. They went to the property together to discuss what was doing well since Phase I, what needed work, and how they could help the aged apples trees. They invited three environmentalists to visit the area to help them make decisions about what to keep, what to cut, and what to plant. Those three remarkable environmentalists are pictured below.
Recently, I overheard that the team was going to work on the site and asked if I could tag along. When Amelia and Renee showed up with their chain saws, I knew this was going to be cool. Marty brought her own tools and recruited Kathy Houghton who came with her pole cutter and Sierra Keat who was visiting from DC and looking for volunteer opportunities to fulfill her AmeriCorps requirements. With the team of five women in place, the sawdust was soon flying. Amelia, Renee, and Kathy pruned while Marty and Sierra hauled away the cuttings to a large brush pile for animals which Dode Gladders calls "rabbitat."
More advisers were brought in before major cuts were made to the trees. Jeff and Susan Figley who own King Blossom Farm on Dunbar Hill Road spent almost two hours answering questions about the trees and making everyone more optimistic about the future of these historic apple trees. Janie Clark, who grew up near her Dad's 156-acre orchard in the Hudson Valley, also came out to help. On February 2nd, I was there to take some pictures of Dave Wood pruning high in the apple trees to give the them more sunshine, more breathing space and less wood to help them use their energy to flower.
This year's pruning is done but the work isn't over yet. In the spring, I will send out volunteer requests to the Grantham Garden Club to help Marty, Renee, and Amelia plant flowers which will give people the opportunity to contribute to this fun project.
I admire Renee, Kristina, Patty, Marty, Amelia, Kathy, Sierra, Lionel Chute, Dode Gladders, Gail McWilliam Jellie, Jeff, Susan, Janie, Dave, and the Grantham Conversation Commission members who have dedicated so much of their time, energy, and talent to making Grantham a better place for pollinators, trees, and flowers, and for us ordinary people to enjoy.