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Naperville Community Gardeners dedicated Remembrance Tree at Garden Plots

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Gardeners also presented donation for new rain garden

On Saturday, May 12, during their annual plant sale at the Community Garden Plots on West Street, the Naperville Community Gardeners paused to present two gifts to the community: a Remembrance Tree and a donation check.

At 10AM  the Gardeners dedicated a Remembrance Tree in honor of the late Ben Calvert, who was a founding member of the Men’s Garden Club, a group now known as the Naperville Community Gardeners. Ben Calvert’s family, including his wife Pat, Ben’s two sisters, son Ben III, son Christopher’s wife Shelby and two grandchildren were in attendance. Christopher was unable to attend.

In addition, they presented to the Naperville Park District a donation check to cover the expenses of the new rain garden located just west of the native plant demonstration area at the Garden Plots.

The Naperville Community Gardeners have a long tradition of giving back to the community.  For example, the group gives $500 annually for Riverwalk flowers, participates in “planting a row” of vegetables to give to Loaves and Fishes Community Food Pantry, and provides advice and help to beginning gardeners at the Garden Plots.

“Ben Calvert began the ‘Plant a Row’ initiative over 25 years ago and raised over a ton of vegetables each year to give away in three or four garden plots that he tended,” said Ron Ory, Naperville Community Gardeners member, master gardener, and Naperville Park District Commissioner. “He was a talented gardener, an artist, and an inspiration to all of us.”

Naperville Park District Executive Director Ray McGury and NPD Board President Mike Reilly attended the tree dedication to accept the check on behalf of the Park District. The $500 donation will cover costs of planting wetland plants in the new rain garden.

“What a fitting way to memorialize Ben Calvert, planting a tree at a location where he spent so much time and that will be visible every time his family and friends visit the garden plots or just drive by,” noted Reilly. “The donation to support its care really completes the gift.”

According to Ory, the rain garden will help show folks how to deal with stormwater in their own yards and gardens.

“The native wetland plants help filter the water as it soaks into the ground, resulting in cleaner streams and rivers in our watershed,” he said. He also added that the rain garden will collect water for use on the site and prevent flooding.

Before the presentation as dozens of shoppers sized up the plant sale, with Calvert’s family in attendance, Ory noted the remembrance tree is a red maple, to remind folks that Calvert was a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan. Red was the color of the day as the table with refreshments also depicted the team’s colors.

Along the parking lot, however, a Killdeer was the bird of the day. The long-legged shorebird also commonly found in lawns, golf courses and athletic fields let us know we had crossed the barrigades that were protecting her from the crowd of plant purchasers at the sale of vegetables and flowers.  Her shrill voice repeated “kill-deer, kill-deer, kill-deer,” as she got up from where she’d been nesting on four eggs, camouflaged in stones without a nest as such. After the mother successfully screeched us out of her territory, she returned to her eggs.

The Naperville Community Gardeners’ plant sale was slated from 7:30AM to 1PM, or until all plants were sold, at the Garden Plots, located at 811 West St. The sale held annually on the Saturday before Mother’s Day is open to the public and offers annuals, hanging baskets, vegetables, bulbs and perennials. Proceeds of the sale help fund the club’s donations to the Garden Plots and the Riverwalk.

Plants and bulbs were selling quickly at 8:30AM.

Original Post Updated May 12 and May 13, 2012, with additional photos by Ron Ory.

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Naperville Park District
Naperville Park Districthttp://www.napervilleparks.org/
Created in 1966, the Naperville Park District is an independent, municipal agency serving the recreation needs of its residents. An Illinois Distinguished Agency since 1994, the District is one of only 1% of park districts across the country to be nationally accredited through the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA). The Naperville Park District’s mission is to provide recreation and park experiences that promote healthy lives, healthy minds and a healthy community. The District maintains and operates more than 2,400 acres with 137 parks and provides more than 1,500 recreational, arts and environmental programs and special events annually. Included within the District’s operations are two championship golf courses, a multitude of playgrounds, trails, athletic courts and sports fields, Fort Hill Activity Center, Knoch Knolls Nature Center, two inline skating and skateboarding facilities, the Millennium Carillon, a paddle boat quarry, historic Centennial Beach, and the beautiful Riverwalk.

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