Changing of the guard at the garden

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 6:00pm

Over the years, I remember seeing various members of the Cyr family working on the charming pocket garden at the corner outside the Surf Hotel. For 60 some years the family tended this garden, which they created shortly after purchasing the hotel in 1956. Lorraine Cyr’s mother, Bea, got permission from both the town and the state to create this garden, (although I’m not sure who owned the land). Later, Lorraine’s dad, Ulric, added a fountain and he spent many evenings collecting the coins tossed in the fountain, which the family donated to the Mary D. Fund.

Now that the Surf Hotel has been sold, the Old Harbor Task Force committee watched to see what the new owners would do to maintain/improve the garden. But nothing happened! The committee continued fussing about the lack of interest in the little garden. Finally, we decided to check and see what we could do to help since it is next to the Mary D. Park.

Much to our surprise, we found the garden was not part of the Surf property, so, naturally, the new owners were not maintaining it. It belonged to the town and was part of our Mary D. Park. Yes, we should be maintaining it… and we were ready to do so. It was past time to change the guard of the garden. Much appreciation to the Cyr family for their many years of loving and guarding this charming garden.

Thanks to the hard work of a group of gardeners made up of members of the OHTF and the Block Island Gardeners, we now have a rejuvenated garden once again at the corner by the New Shoreham incorporation marker, which is now in plain sight and can be read.

Many thanks go to Steve McQueeny and Sean McGarry for the original cleanup. Then, lots more thanks to Maude and Ray Chasse for trimming overgrown iris, day lilies and roses. And, finally, a huge thank you to Maude who, on behalf of the OHTF, went shopping on the mainland and found new plantings for the garden at a time of year that requires visiting several garden centers to get what one wants as nursery stock is depleted. Maude organized a planting party for last Friday morning made up of Steve McQueeny, Cookie and Brian Lenoci, and Ray Chasse. Thanks, folks, for all your hard work.

I also want to recognize and thank the management of the Surf Hotel who are providing us with water and electricity and the National Hotel, which will provide staff to water the garden.

Over the next several weeks, Steve McQueeny and Martin Rosato will fix the small fountain and install a new water pump. Once the fountain is working, do come by and visit. You can toss a coin in the fountain and make a wish.

Believe it or not, the planting party found some old coins in the fountain when they cleaned out all the dirt.