2015-07-31 / Community

A Window on the Past

New garden improves museum and park
By Kathryn DiPhilippo
South Portland Historical Society


Before, right, and after photos of the new garden area. (Courtesy photos) Before, right, and after photos of the new garden area. (Courtesy photos) It has been a few years since the South Portland Historical Society had its sign constructed and installed on museum grounds. The whole process of opening the museum at Bug Light Park has been one of slow and steady improvement. Upgrades to the interior of the museum have continued each year, but sometimes exterior improvements have been a little more challenging when it comes to funding.

This month marks another step forward for South Portland’s local history museum. The plans for the garden started last year and became a reality this spring when Gnome Landscape & Design in Falmouth agreed to donate their services to make it happen. The first step was for a garden design to be made that would include low-growing plants that would not hide the museum sign. We also had a desire for flowers throughout the season and for the garden to be as low maintenance as possible, as weeding would require additional volunteer hours in the future. Margot Levy, a landscape designer with Gnome, came up with a great design that would include all of our goals for the garden and would incorporate an anchor which was already on the lawn near the museum sign.

With this design now in hand, we thought we had a donor for the plants and other materials, but, as sometimes happens, the pledge fell through and we were left with no plants and no money to purchase them, although Gnome was willing to install them if we could find a way to make it work. Due to the size of the garden and the number of plants, the amount of money needed was not insignificant. Step in the incredibly generous members of the historical society, many of whom made additional donations to purchase the plants for the garden.

Last week, Gnome Landscaping arrived with a crew to prepare the site with loam and compost. They sent another crew to the museum this past Monday and completed the installation of the first round of plants. Another round of spring-blooming plants will be added to the garden later in September.

Our thanks to everyone involved in making this garden come to life. Next year, we should see bluebells emerging in the spring with a great flower display that will then die back and the summer garden will emerge. This will be a long-lasting improvement to the museum and park that will be enjoyed by residents and visitors for years to come. To reach the museum, take Broadway east to the ocean, turn left onto Breakwater Drive, then turn right onto Madison Street that leads into the park. For more information, call the society at 767-7299 or stop by for a visit. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with free admission.

Kathryn DiPhilippo is director of South Portland Historical Society.

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