They may not look like much now, but the garden beds in front of the Brookfield Village Hall, 8820 Brookfield Ave., should be popping in coming years due to the efforts of the Brookfield Garden Club.
Last week, several of the club’s members put their plan into action, planting more than 120 new plants and moving others already there. The result should be garden beds with year-round visual interest.
The garden beds were redone several years ago following a renovation of the front of the village hall building. But, according to Jerry LeBeda, one of the Garden Club’s co-presidents, it lacked diversity of plant species.
“The stuff goes ‘bam’ in May and by mid-June you have nothing,” LeBeda said of the former plantings.
The Brookfield Beautification Commission approached the club last year and asked if the group was interested in tackling the village hall as part of the Adopt-A-Spot program.
“We were sort of approached and they said, ‘Is there anything you can do here?'” LeBeda said. “We started to think about it. It’s not a real interesting spot. But everyone sees it, and we thought, ‘Let’s perk it up a little bit.'”
The first phase of the project was to come up with a plan for the four garden beds in front of the village hall. What they hit upon was to plant the large west bed as a “prairie” garden and the large east bed as a “woodland” garden. The two smaller central beds flanking the stairway will be theme gardens changing from year to year.
“The whole idea is to reflect the history of Brookfield in some way,” LeBeda said.
This summer, according to club co-president Robin O’Malley, the theme will be flowers and vegetables in harmony. In addition to annuals such as salvia, petunias and nicotiana there will be kale, chard, pepper and tomato plants.
The garden beds will take a little bit of work to maintain. The beds will have to be weeded monthly, LeBeda said, and they’ll have to be fertilized occasionally.
However, watering the plants shouldn’t be a problem. LeBeda devised and installed an irrigation system consisting of about 1,000 feet of plastic tubing that’s buried below the surface. The system is hooked up to an outside spigot and a timer, which will water plants at night.
The club spent about $180 to purchase plants from an online catalog during the winter and on June 3, LeBeda and O’Malley were joined by club members Nancy Kranz, Joan St. Paul and Dorothy Ball to put the phlox, holly, dogwood, asters, veronica, liatris, chrysanthemums, coral bells, sedum and more in the ground.
“I think we’re gonna see something this year,” LeBeda said of the new plants. “Next year, though, they’ll come back and be their natural selves.”
The garden club has been around since 2005 and has about 25 members. Members produce a free monthly newsletter that’s e-mailed to more than 100 people on the group’s distribution list.
Caring for the village hall beds is the club’s first foray into the Adopt-A-Spot program.
“We had always participated in Project NICE,” said O’Malley of the Beautification Commission’s annual village-wide spruce-up days. “Now our focus will always be to take care of this garden.”