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Buttrick Gardens, Part 2

Last Fall, we published an article about the sorry condition of the gardens at the Buttrick Mansion in Minute Man National Historical Park. Below are two more articles on this subject, one (below left) explaining how they got that way and another (below right) about a clean-up event that happened there recently.

The Gardens and How They Declined

By Harry Braid, grounds supervisor for Minute Man National Historical Park from 1992-98, now retired, living in Minnesota and volunteering at the visitor center at Voyagers National Park at International Falls.

When I started working at Minute Man National Historic Park in 1992, the gardens were as already in decline. We had only one gardener to maintain them and his experience was limited as was mine. Attempts to get volunteers to help was limited. Those who did help in dividing and pruning were given many plants to take and sell at the gardens clubs to raise funds.

kids having fun!

Once that work was done they virtually disappeared. It is very hard to find volunteers to weed and do other regular maintenance. However we did have one dedicated volunteer by the name of Doris from Concord.

Every chance I got I would send my entire crew to the gardens to weed and prune, but soon was told that there were more important things to do in the Park. The reasoning was that these gardens were not part of the history of the park, the Battlefield and Battle Road were.

Less and less was done to the gardens. I left the park a frustrated man, and knew that the gardens were going to be let go and there was nothing I could do about it. It is a real shame that the current Superintendent had decided not to maintain them - her predecessor, Larry Gall, was all for the gardens. I am now in Minnesota and often wish I had tried harder to get local garden clubs to adopt them. But the Park was not willing to spend much money on the gardens.

I retired from the Park early because I could not do things like preserve the garden with the new trail they were building sucking up every available dollar. Like so many, I thought the gardens were one of the most beautiful things in the Park and could do nothing to save them.

The Gardens and How They Were Cleaned
the blades of iris leaves
The photos here of garden workers were taken Sunday, May 19, 2002 at the Buttrick Gardens of Minute Man National Historical Park. They capture an impressive group effort on the part of members of the Temple Isaiah in Lexington to help beautify the gardens of the Park.

Their work was a part of Mitzvah Day, dedicated to service to the community. Service activities included visits to elderly care centers, delivery of hot meals to shut-ins, clean up of playgrounds, preparation of shelters or, in the case of Minute Man National Historical Park, weeding the garden. As one of the enthusiastic volunteers said holding a nasty weed, "here's one weed the million visitors to this park won't see!"

Regular upkeep and maintenance of the gardens remain an ongoing issue at the Park (see main at left). However, these efforts have allowed some distance from the day the gardens revert to the wild.

Performing a mitvah makes you happy.

Cleanup Photos: Courtesy of Minute Man National Historical Park
Iris Images: ArtToday.

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