Editorial: A big change

There is nothing like persistence to make a change. Horseshoe Pond is evidence of that.

The Friends of Horseshoe Pond, led by Anne Deware, have been beating the drums for the pond’s “makeover” for several years now and the results have been very rewarding. The pond was literally being choked to death by lily pads and they were determined to clean it out.

There have been many attempts to conquer the lilies over the years, from draining the pond and trying to freeze the roots to manually ripping out the lily pads with the help of volunteers in waders and canoes. But with a 6.5-acre worksite, these endeavors were minimally successful. But the efforts, publicized here and elsewhere, got the word out bit by bit and the pond’s Friends did not give up.

Eventually they realized greater measures needed to be taken and so, last year, they worked to raise money to have the lily pads chemically eliminated. They held fund-raisers and applied for grants.

As often happens, the lily pad problem was a matter of unintended consequences. Years ago the lilies were put there on purpose as a matter of waterscaping, if you will. But their prolific nature caused them to take over the entire pond. Why bother removing them? That much vegetation eventually results in eutrophication and you wind up with a dead lake.

Recently, The Bulletin published a photo of a great blue heron fishing in clear water, arguably a much nicer view than a green expanse of foliage.

The entire area is also enhanced by the award-winning garden at Horseshoe Pond Park, which has been flourishing under the care of the Wilton Garden Club for the last six years. With a clear pond and a beautiful garden, this area has become one of Wilton’s small gems.
The effort of lily containment is not over, though. Further applications of an aquacide — not harmful to animals or beneficial plants — is needed. And it does not come cheap. The Friends need to raise $10,000. Future maintenance will also be required.

Two fund-raising events are coming up: a guest bartender night at Marly’s on June 8, when all tips collected from 6 to 10 will support the anti-lily pad efforts, and a raffle for a painting by Jeff Lavety. You can get a look at the painting today at Village Market or June 8 at Marly’s.

For those who enjoy some hands-on work, volunteers will gather on Sunday, June 7, from 8:30 to 2 to clear invasive vines and other debris from the pond’s shores. Those interested should bring their garden shears and work gloves. This will just add to the area’s appeal.