By Jaime Thomas
Every garden has a story.
Whether started from scratch or continued from an old green thumb, a plot full of flowers and greenery never fails to perk up the neighborhood.
To honor local stories and the people who created them, the Slate Valley Garden Club held its annual Beautification Awards last Wednesday. The luncheon, which took place at the Slate Valley Museum, included a few club members talking about gardeners, gardening and their impact on the community.
“I’ve found that gardeners are always optimistic, always enterprising and never satisfied. They’re always looking to do better and make improvements,” said Margie O’Brien, co-president of the club. She explained that the awards are a way of recognizing those who make property their own by planting flowers.
“We feel that people who take pride in their properties take pride in their community. And they enhance the community by planting these lovely gardens,” she said.
At the beginning of the luncheon, Molly Celani, a member of the garden club and president of the Slate Valley Museum Board of Trustees, presented about the museum. Then O’Brien made a few comments, and club member Nancy Williams handed out the awards. Fittingly, these pieces of slate had flowers on them, which were hand painted by Marcia Traver, treasurer of the garden club.
Following the awards, everyone enjoyed a lunch of finger foods, including brie cheese and crackers, specialty breads, chocolate peanut clusters and more, all handmade by members of the club.
Celani, who had been speaking with the winners, realized each had a unique story to tell and asked them to share about their gardens with the group.
Kathy Somich, who along with her husband, Nick had looked gleeful when accepting their award, was the first to speak.
“This award is not just an award to us,” Somich said, explaining that she and her husband had moved in with Nick’s father four years ago, and used to enjoy gardening with Nick’s mother before she passed away.
“When we took over I felt a lot of pressure to keep up the garden; we’ve been there enjoying the garden in her memory for four years. When we received the phone call, we were ecstatic,” Somich said.
Charlie King, meanwhile, said when they moved into their house they opted to turn the previous, elderly owners’ gardens into lawn for their child to use.
“Then, I guess we got old. Now I find weeding to be aggravating, time consuming and fun,” he said with a laugh. Mary Eckhoff called gardening a great stress reliever, and Hillary Roszell said her post office garden was partially a competition against Tom Scott, who had won the award in the past.
After the stories, Lipschutz mentioned that last year Granville Mayor Brian LaRose approved the first Wednesday of every August be recognized as Granville Beautification Day.
Anyone interested in joining the club can call Lipschutz at 518-642-2629.
The beautification awards seek to “recognize and celebrate those who are enhancing the beauty of their property and to promote and honor the display of color and beauty in gardens of the village of Granville.”
Previously only those with properties in the village were eligible, but this year the boundary was expanded to include the corner of Route 22 and Church Street. The four possible categories are residential, commercial, institutional/municipal and professionally landscaped or assisted. This year’s winners are as follows:
Mary and Al Eckhoff
96 Quaker St.
Mary and Charlie King
7-9 North Quaker St.
Nicholas, Nick and Kathy Somich
52 Mettowee St.
21 Williams St.
Thomas and Louise Tolworthy
42 West Main St.
Granville Post Office
41 Main St.