Visitors to Merwin Meadows are getting a more attractive greeting than they have in seasons past, now that a new garden is blooming.
Efforts by the Wilton Garden Club and town grounds crew have transformed a weedy and lackluster entry into a neat pop of greenery and color.
In a visit to the park last week, the garden club’s Suzanne Knutson recalled how she came to Merwin Meadows for an event last year and saw the welcoming sign with nothing around it.
“This is our main park,” she thought. “We can do better.”
“The park is used by moms and kids, joggers, seniors, and people using the Norwalk River Valley Trail,” she said last week. “I thought, ‘we should make this more beautiful.’”
Knutson worked with town employees to plant the garden last fall. “It was all day lilies,” she said, which can be beautiful but the bed was full of weeds.
The lilies were taken out and the garden club purchased a variety of plants, which the town crew planted with Knutson. They included Knutson’s go-to trio of Knockout roses, ornamental grass and tidy evergreen shrubs, in this case blue star juniper and Chaemcyparis. Mixed in with those are peonies, coreopsis, and white swan coneflowers, which are perennials, meaning they will come back year after year. For extra color there are diascia, zinnia and lantana, all annuals.
On their own, the grounds crew planted nasturtium seeds and put up a small fence to protect the plants from being walked upon.
In addition, the town installed a berm between the park and the parking lot, which was planted with ornamental grasses, some shrub roses, sedum and annuals. The garden club added some Knockout roses, which are very hardy.
Knutson and Linda Schmidt, who is also involved in the garden club’s civic activities, had nothing but praise for the town workers and Douglas Katz, who heads the grounds crews.
“The guys have been weeding and watering,” Knutson said, adding their efforts are helping the garden to flourish.
Citing the cooperative efforts of the town and garden club, Schmidt said “the men are delighted someone’s taken an interest in their work.”
The town and garden club work cooperatively on many projects including the hanging baskets, plantings at town hall, pocket gardens at the town’s gateways, the Veterans Memorial Green, and other locations.