Although many in the community are familiar with the history of the Old Lake County Courthouse, some may not realize the rich history the gardens outside the historic building hold.
For nearly five decades, the Crown Point Garden Club has refreshed and maintained the Old Courthouse beds.
It’s just one of several gardens the club has established throughout the community. In fact, take a walk around the city and you’ll likely see the mark of the local garden club.
“We all feel we are really blessed to be involved with a hard-working group that allows us to stay connected, work outside, stay physically active, give back to our community, and share our knowledge and teach children who hopefully will have a life-long interest in gardening and its many benefits,” club spokesperson Amanda White said.
Founded in 1929, the garden club currently has 30 members. Group members maintain several gardens around the community, including:
● The large garden next to the covered bridge at the Lake County Fairgrounds, which includes plants, flowers, vines and a new Black Tulip Magnolia tree.
● A pollinator garden for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds located outside the fairgrounds at the intersection of Greenwood and Lake streets, which includes zinnias, Joe-Pye weed, a Cardinal bush, cannas, Black-eyed Susans and additional varieties that attract pollinators.
● Four beds at the Old Courthouse — two on Main Street by the front steps and one at each of the two Courthouse Shops wooden signs.
The garden club also maintains the Blue Star Memorial By-Way Marker located at the southwest corner of the courthouse lawn. The marker is denoted by a plaque on a 1,362-pound pink boulder donated by the club in 2017. The memorial honors all current and past members of the U.S. military.
“We received a grant to purchase the rock and another to enhance it with small bushes and plants to complement it,” White said.
Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, group members have been busy caring for the beds, though to maintain social distance, only a few members work at one location at a time. They have also moved their meetings outdoors, a move that has provided a silver lining.
“We are able to meet at the covered bridge at the fairgrounds so we can enjoy the fruits of our labor,” White said.
The group will hold its annual fall mum sale outdoors, with this year’s event taking place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the fairgrounds. All proceeds are a fundraiser for the group’s mission of installing, refreshing and maintaining the gardens throughout Crown Point.
Group members have even provided their assistance to residents in need, whether it’s offering advice on how to perk up flower beds, or helping residents thin out their beds and then using those plants in some of the gardens the club maintains.
“On Oct. 1, we will be making fall baskets for the Meals on Wheels recipients, usually about 50 of them, using fall flowers and hand-made containers,” White said. “Then on Oct. 3 for our youth initiative project we will be planting wildflowers inside the fairgrounds with help from the Scouts and the Adventure Maidens from the YMCA. As you can see, we have been keeping busy.”
Community members are invited to join the Crown Point Garden Club, whether they have large gardens or simply enjoy patio containers or flower boxes. More information about the group can be found on the group’s Facebook page.
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