Saratoga County

Rotarians, volunteer make their town bloom

When Cathy Rogers saw the dead flowers planted in whiskey barrels on the corner of Route 50 and Lake

When Cathy Rogers saw the dead flowers planted in whiskey barrels on the corner of Route 50 and Lakehill Road a decade ago, she liked the idea of a garden, but thought it could be improved.

“I saw that they had plaques on them designating that they were from the Rotary,” said Rogers. “I followed up and met with some of the Rotarians who were very cautious and interested but wanted to go forth with the project and make sure it succeeded.”

Rogers was frustrated that she was unable to make a positive difference amid the turmoil immediately following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

“But,” she thought, “perhaps I could improve my surroundings and come together with fellow citizens over the common goal of beautification. It worked.”

It sure did. Since meeting with the Burnt Hills -Ballston Lake Rotary a decade ago, Rogers and the Rotarians have started a number of gardens as part of what became their “Town in Bloom” project.

“Our intent was to do something that would bring hope and beauty to our small community,” said Mary Anderson, a BH-BL Rotary Club member who was president of the club when the “Town In Bloom” project began. “As president, I thought it was a wonderful idea. The next year, we took it upon ourselves to put down compost and some plantings.”

“There was an interest in doing something in the community that was visible — a beautification program of some sort,” said Rotary member Val Mosier, who designs the gardens’ layouts.

He said it takes two work parties in the spring to mulch and compost and one in the fall to pull out weeds and dead plants to prepare the gardens for planting.

“My wife and I do most of the gardening on the [Lakehill Road] corner, and we spend a couple of hours about once a week, typically,” Mosier said.

The gardens are watered and fertilized weekly by the town of Ballston Highway Department.

“Joe Whalen is the [highway department] supervisor who has taken on that responsibility and commitment and deserves thanks,” said Rogers.

There are more than five gardens now maintained by the BH-BL Rotary, the most prominent of which is the one at Route 50 and Lakehill Road.

Rogers, herself not a Rotarian, is an ornamental grass expert and perennial plant grower who also grows specialty cut flowers for local florists. “I love making bouquets. I think flowers make everyone happier, and there are numerous studies that confirm that,” she said.

“You can’t just create a garden and walk away,” she added. “We’re building community through horticulture by volunteers coming and making a little piece of the Earth more beautiful.”

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