Memorial Garden

Memorial Garden and the Gardens at Oyster Pond

With all of the current interest in promoting native plants in our gardens, visitors may be surprised to learn that the gardens at Oyster Pond were designed to do that fifteen years ago.  There are three distinct gardens at that location: the Veterans Memorial Garden, the Demonstration Garden, and the Arthur Allison Memorial Garden.  In 2005 the parking lot at the Oyster Pond was reconfigured, adding parking spaces and improving the storm drainage system.  A “xeriscape” demonstration garden that had been maintained by the Friends of Chatham Waterways and a smaller Veterans Memorial Garden were removed and stored for more than two years.  In 2007 two members of the Chatham Garden Club, Anne O’Brien and Barbara Cotnam, joined forces with The Veterans of Foreign Wars, the First Night Committee, the Friends of Trees and the Sunset Terrace Association to design and implement new landscaping there.

 The VFW’s memorial to Korean and Vietnam veterans is a focal point in the park.  The intent was to create an area of quiet and reflection with seating out of the wind.  In addition, the space was expanded to allow larger gatherings and made handicap-accessible. The First Night Committee was responsible for the increase in size by sponsoring a project of remembrance through inscribed bricks.  Seven shrubs of the native Arrowwood Viburnum V. dentatum were planted--one for each of the following veterans: David A. Carpenter, Jr.; Julia Howes; Martha Whelan; Sean St. Pierre; Lawrence W. Williams; John M. Hartwell; and David Lawrence Yindra.  Their plaques are placed on the outside of the paved memorial.   In addition, several varieties of roses were planted at the entrance to the park. Each Spring the VFW donates the geraniums which provide a pop of color by the flag pole. 

 The design of the Demonstration Garden was intended to show the public what could be done in an environment with minimal fertilizing and watering, yet still provide pollinators with resources throughout the growing season.  The Oyster Pond ecosystem is a difficult one for most plants; plants must tolerate salt, wind, sandy soils, lower pH and drought.  Once plants are established, they are “on their own.”  This garden has been a fifteen-year experiment in plant survival in such a harsh environment.     

The third garden is on the corner of Pond St. and Stage Harbor Rd.  Originally designed with daylilies and daffodils, it gained significance when the memorial to Arthur Allison, who died in a helicopter crash in Vietnam, was moved from the Cross St. triangle to this area.  Liz Scheld motivated a major clean-up of this area a few years back, removing invasive grasses and adding daylilies and sedum—once again honoring this young man’s sacrifice.

The gardens at the Oyster Pond have been maintained by Chatham Garden Club volunteers for the past fifteen years.  We feel fortunate to be able to work in such a beautiful location and welcome all members who wish to join us.

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