Club Dedicates Grassy Garden

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By Liz Premo, Atlantic News Staff Writer

Atlantic News, Friday, September 22, 2005

[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News]

GREAT GRASSES -- Bill Holt of Willow Mist Grasses in Stratham describes the different varieties of perennial grasses planted in a garden dedicated to the late Ruth Stimson, who was a member of the Hampton Garden Club. [Atlantic News Photo by Liz Premo]

HAMPTON -- "They used to say Ruth would gather a crowd. She still does," was the observation heard by the 25 or so people who gathered at a small, rock-bordered garden patch at Five Corners to honor one of Hampton's most memorable gardeners.

Dedicated to Hampton Garden Club member Ruth G. Stimson, who passed away in July 2004, the simple plot is aesthetically pleasing, with a variety of lush perennial grasses surrounding a steadfast boulder. Pennisetum alopecuroides, carex (ice dance) overdam, blutenwunder, and flame grass are among the flora that have been established there.

The day's late-setting sun was resplendent through the grassy fronds as Hampton Garden Club President Laurel Lent welcomed those in attendance. She introduced fellow member and master gardener Marilyn Wallingford, who placed a commemorative sign in the midst of the grasses.

In memory of Ruth Stimson, educator, gardener, conservationist.
"The years teach much which the days never know"

The garden was the cooperative effort of Hampton Garden Club members, the Master Gardener Association, and the Hampton Parks and Recreation Department. The Professional Firefighters of Hampton donated the sign.

"It seemed appropriate to do this," said Wallingford, noting that the garden — which was designed by Bill Holt of Willow Mist Grasses in Stratham and planted this past spring — will be of the "low maintenance" variety.

With regard to the preparations made at the site, Wallingford acknowledged Hampton Parks Coordinator Darren Patch and his staff, who took out all the old shrubs, picked up the grasses, planted, mulched and watered the garden three times per week, all summer long.

"We have the best maintenance crew," said Wallingford.

Hardy and easy to grow, the perennial grasses that were selected for the garden will "bloom" at different times during the season, just like their flowery counterparts. And though regular watering needs to take place over the first year after the perennial grasses are planted, watering won't be necessary next year.

"That's my kind of plant," commented one garden club member to another.

The grasses are all "heat-lovers," explained Holt, and as the grass clumps grow larger they can be divided into good specimens to offer at a plant sale.

"It came out very nice; it all bloomed," commented Patch, noting that planting perennial grasses "is the wave of the future for people — it's more like a texture thing, rather than color."

Following the dedication, the group met at the First Congregational Church of Hampton, where they enjoyed refreshments as well as a slide presentation on perennial grasses, courtesy of Holt.

Well-known as an educator, community leader, environmentalist, and artist, Ruth Stimson served in several capacities for the Lane Memorial Library; belonged to the town's garden club and historical society; and was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the First Congregational Church of Hampton. She also served on the board of the Seacoast Visiting Nurse Association, and was on the Hampton Shade Tree and Salt Marsh Conservation committees. A small oceanside park, located just off Ocean Boulevard and dedicated in her name several years ago, serves as "a permanent acknowledgement of her lifelong efforts."

More on Ruth Stimson

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