EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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July 7, 2013

Hampstead gardeners work to make their town prettier

HAMPSTEAD — They’ve been in town for more than 30 years, and people can’t say enough about the impact they have on the community.

“It’s amazing all they do,” Selectman Richard Hartung said. “They’re absolutely marvelous.”

Hartung is referring to the Hampstead Garden Club, founded in 1979. Members work around the clock to make the town a more visually appealing place.

The 50 members tend to seven gardens around town, but three really stand out.

“There’s Ordway Park, the storybook garden at the library, and what we call the sign island right in the middle of town,” membership director Phyllis Leocha said. “We just all love contributing to the gardening in town and being able to learn while we do it.”

Ordway Park is the biggest garden the members plant and maintain. The garden, located at the corner of Depot Road and Main Street, features a commemorative walkway surrounding the flowers.

The storybook garden behind Hampstead Public Library is popular with children and adults. The perennial garden was completed in 1995 with help from private donations.

“We use it to read to kids,” Hampstead Public Library director Debra Hiett said. “Sometimes people will bring their own books and just ponder and read in there. It’s a lovely place.”

It was tailored after gardens in popular children’s books such as “Jack and the Beanstalk” and “The Rose in My Garden.”

“They are here all the time,” Hiett said of the club members. “They put so much time and effort when it comes to beautifying the garden.”

Whether it’s weeding or watering, volunteers are there several times a week.

“It’s just such a dedicated group of people,” she said.

Garden Club member Joanne VanderSande said she goes anytime she is able to work on the gardens; it brings a smile to her face.

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