Friday, June 4, 1999
Garden Club plans to beautify town center rotary
More than any other landmark, the Lady of Liberty statue in the rotary marks the center of town, and the Carlisle Garden Club has proposed a landscaping plan to enhance this central visual focus of the town. "Today, public spaces like the rotary are frequently given colorful, gardenesque treatments," garden club member Cynthia Seavey explained in written materials submitted to the selectmen. At their meeting on May 25, the selectmen approved, "with gratitude," the garden club's proposal.
Having long considered the existing rotary's lack of distinction, the garden club held two workshops this year in which the problems and possibilities of this space were thrashed out. "So many people got excited about this project," said Seavey. The group overcame design challenges presented by the site including the fact that the statue does not rise from the circle's center and that the site slopes more than 12 inches from north to south. In addition, the statue's base, a nearly seven-foot-tall tier of granite, is now obscured by shrubs.
"The proposed layout presents a whole-space planting plan with a certain asymmetry to satisfy the statue's placement, with considerable rock/boulder use to create stability and pattern, and a planting scheme that interweaves a repeated schedule of sturdy and varying shrubs, as well as areas of colorful, sequenced perennial beds," explained Seavey. "The whole area is mulched, traced with step-stone paths for access, and garlanded by a cut stone edge."
The garden club will provide both funds and labor for installation and upkeep of the new landscaping, although Seavey has requested help from the department of public works for initial clearing, setting boulders and laying the cut stone edging. Money for this project and for other town beautification projects performed by the garden club comes from fundraisers such as plant sales and the upcoming Country Gardens Tour on June 11 and 12.
The next step is for rewiew of the project by the historical commission. According to Seavey, the plan does not technically constitute a restoration, as the earliest pictures of the rotary show that it was more of an ellipse surrounded by a simple split-rail fence with granite posts. But Seavey said, "With the club's enthusiasm for this project, it can become a delightful, creative salute linking the 19th century to the 21st!"
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito