Shrewsbury Garden Club to dedicate ‘Fragrant Garden’

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By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter

Jane Umphrey, Shrewsbury Garden Club past president, tends to the Fragrant Garden. Photo/Melanie Petrucci
Jane Umphrey, Shrewsbury Garden Club past president, tends to the Fragrant Garden.
Photo/Melanie Petrucci

Shrewsbury – Nestled along the south side of Shrewsbury Town Hall, across from the Police Department, sits a hidden gem – a beautiful garden that is soon to be formally dedicated as a “Fragrant Garden” by the Shrewsbury Garden Club. The garden is to be enjoyed by all, but especially those who are sensory challenged.

The dedication will take place Saturday, June 16, at 1 p.m. at Town Hall. Town officials, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, State. Rep. Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury) and Carolyn Gordon, regional director of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind have been invited to attend the dedication.

The Shrewsbury Lions Club has partnered with the Garden Club and donated a water fountain to commemorate the centennial anniversary of Lions Club International, which will also be dedicated.

The genesis of the Fragrant Garden was in 2008 when then club president, Audrey Dalli, was visiting Savannah, Georgia. While on a trolley tour, she became captivated by a fragrant garden for the blind that was on the trolley route. So inspired, she brought the idea back to Shrewsbury.

“We formed a non-profit corporation called Shrewsbury Fragrant Garden, Inc. We were incorporated in November of 2009 which enabled us to hold fundraisers to raise money to build the garden,” stated Dalli.

“We wanted it to be a nice healing garden for anybody in the town to enjoy,” she added.

The intent was to build and maintain a public garden for the visually impaired and anyone with a disability.

The biggest challenge the club encountered was finding the right place to build the garden. With guidance from the selectmen, they looked at Veteran’s Inc. as a possibility but that organization couldn’t offer them a long-term site.

Other locations considered were Dean Park and Prospect Park but the issue of potential vandalism was a concern. Then, miraculously, there was a garden originally built by the Shrewsbury Water Department at Town Hall that was in need of some attention. The Water Department was unable to properly maintain it so it had gone to seed.

The Garden Club was approached and it proved to be the perfect location. For the past four or five years they have been working to bring the garden to a place where they felt ready to present it to the town.

The garden contains scented lilies, geraniums, lavender and hyacinths and they have recently added two mock orange bushes. Dalli said that the garden has benches that club members have donated in memory of loved ones.

The Shrewsbury Garden Club has been beautifying Shrewsbury for over 60 years. In addition to the Fragrant Garden, they plant and maintain the flowers in the traffic islands in the center of town and around the flagpole at the Post Office on Maple Avenue. They also sponsor an Adopt-a-Plot program and the annual scarecrow display on the common in the fall.

For more information about the club, visit http://shrewsburygardenclub.org.