The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 2, 2007

Parker is winner of statewide "Love My Garden" contest

Joan Parker with her 21-year-old cat, Snappy, surveys her patch of Black-Eyed Susans. (Photo by Alex Parker)

Joan Parker of Russell Street was a winner in the 2007 statewide "Love My Garden" contest, sponsored by the Massachusetts Flower Growers' Association. Winners were chosen from the North, South, West and Central regions of the state. Parker was the winner for the North region. Entrants in the contest were asked to write a brief paragraph on why they love their gardens, in addition to sending two photographs of their gardens. Judges picked Parker "for her outstanding composition of gardens" and "lifelong commitment to gardening." It was noted that Parker holds fundraising events and annual tours of her garden in support of her favorite charities, including the Asperger's Association of New England. Each of the regional winners received a $500 gift certificate to any of the association's member-owned in-dependent farm stands or garden centers.

In a discussion with the Mosquito this week, Parker reported that she has always had a garden, starting with her family's Victory Garden while growing up in the Mattapan neighborhood of Boston. She still remembers her mother giving her 25 cents to buy seeds at school; this was enough money, in those days, for five packs of seed to take home to her family.

Here in Carlisle, first at her home of 30 years on Forest Park Drive where she tended to vegetables, flowers and raising children, and more recently, 14 1/2 years on Russell Street, gardens have been an important part of Parker's life. For many years she was a member of the Carlisle Garden Club, serving as its president in 1996. In her 1 1/2 acres of gardens, she grows both vegetables and flowers. She reports having different sections of flowers blossoming from March until a "killer frost" at the beginning of November.

This was the first time Parker had entered the "Love My Garden" contest. "I did it on a whim, and when my husband told me I had won, I thought it was a joke," laughed Parker. Here is her winning paragraph, which we asked if we might share with our readers:

"I love my flower garden because it completes my life. Growing flowers gives me: exercise (more complete and cheaper than a gym), beauty in my home and garnishes for my food, the chance to plant and teach my grandsons, yearly charity fundraising (two major garden tours and every summer a luncheon and tour for the auction item of Asperger's Association of New England), birds and butterflies in my yard, bouquets to my friends, the opportunity to teach classes about raising wildflowers in Community Education, and convert (some) of our town lawns to wildflower and other gardens. Can I ask for more?"

Parker will be teaching a class at Concord-Carlisle Adult and Community Education on November 6 — "Creative arrangements or gifts for the Thanksgiving Table." She will also lecture at the Hanover, New Hampshire, Garden Club on November 6.

"Main Street ­ Late February" by Kathleen McDonough

· Kathleen McDonough of Maple Street will have 30 of her oil paintings on exhibit at ARTANA, an art gallery at 1378 Beacon Street, Suite B, Brookline, Massachusetts. The exhibition dates are November 3 to 28 from 6 to 8 p.m.

"McDonough's artistic journey pays tribute to sun-clapped porches, general stores, diners, backyards, meadows, rivers and skies at night," writes Heather Roy, gallery director.

For more information call 1-617-879-3111.

HEAD OF THE CHARLES. Liane Malcos of East Street takes part in the Head of the Charles Women's Championship Single Sculls race. (Photo by Joe Provenzano)

· Pumpkins on the Common contest winners in the October 26 Mosquito should have included: Chairman's Award to Valerie Ziehler's "Countryside Chicken" — a decorated Blue Hubbard Squash.

2007 The Carlisle Mosquito