The world has been a bit chaotic of late, hasn’t it? Covid-19 pandemic, financial strains, worries over loved ones, all manner of protests, and on and on. I heard someone mention the term “doom scrolling” on Facebook the other day, and that’s a good way to put it. There is a lot of doom and gloom out there.
But in the midst of all this chaos, a beautiful, peaceful and joyful children’s garden has been quietly taking shape at Peninsula Community Library – colorful flowers, a lovely sundial, tiny fairy gardens nestled among the plants and so much more.
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More specifically, this is the “Mack and Lorraine Beers Children’s Garden,” as the Beers were the lead donors on the project. And it is so, so lovely and gives you hope that there are still joyful things happening in the world, despite what we see in the news every day.
Andy Clapham designed the garden, and Jordan Valdmanis, owner of Old Mission Associates, donated his time for the design, drawings and plans. Jordan is a graduate of Old Mission Peninsula School, and his young son loves the library.
As with everything else about our new library – “the heart of the community” – the Children’s Garden had a landscape committee to bring it all together – Andy Clapham, Heatherlyn Johnson, Gladys Maguire, David Merrill, Lorraine Brickman, Roger Myers, Jim Cooper, Nancy Davy, Michele Westcott and Vicki Shurly.
In addition to what is currently at the Children’s Garden, there are still plenty of good things to come, including a Little Free Library set at child level, built by library patron Fred Zwemer, and a directional sign pointing to places of the imagination in books – like the Hundred Acre Wood, Narnia and Neverland. This is being built by patron Walter Lee.
Money has also been donated for a memorial bench in memory of patron Rick George. Rick was a master gardener who helped with the library gardens when the library was located at Old Mission Peninsula School.
Library Director Vicki Shurly has also ordered a whirligig, with its two sides spinning in opposite directions in the wind, and there will be reading area logs on which to sit for storytime. She also hopes to have a dirt table for kids to play in once we are through the pandemic and they can safely play communally again.
She is also looking for volunteers to adopt various garden beds to weed. Give the library a call if you’d like to help, (231) 223-7700.
In the photos below, you’ll see some of the memorial bricks purchased in honor of loved ones. You may still purchase bricks; however, only at certain times of the year. I believe the next time to purchase bricks might be in January 2021, but I will keep you posted on that.
As with the rest of the library, the Children’s Garden honors our Old Mission Peninsula heritage. This dragonfly sculpture was made by local artist Gilbert Carrizales from parts of an old cherry harvester.
The xylophone was a gift from the Old Mission Women’s Club, in honor of all the women of the club. The Club also gave the library a grant for three picnic tables, two of which are ADA compliant, so that a wheelchair will fit under one side. The drop box in front of the library was also a gift from the Club.
Vicki thought this beautiful sundial would be great for kids to enjoy, “because so many kids today tell time digitally and don’t realize that there are ways to tell time by nature,” she says.
Gladys Maguire donated funds for a little fairy garden in one of the beds. And by the way, if you haven’t checked out the fairy gardens near the Botanical Gardens on the old State Hospital grounds, take a peek at those sometime. While hiking the trails out there, my daughter and I stumbled upon them, to our great delight.
Here are a few more photos of the beautiful Children’s Garden. Be sure and stop by Peninsula Community Library to check it out for yourself soon.