New Milford merchants color downtown with outdoor planters, flowers
NEW MILFORD — The Village Green is often referred to as one of the most picturesque.
The cobblestone sidewalks, historic bandstand, striking historic churches, and manicured greenway speckled with war memorials has long been admired by residents and those passing through.
Topping off its attractive look are extensive floral arrangements in planters around town and gardens on the Green and in front of town hall, created and maintained by the Garden Club of New Milford.
“The presentation of our town is so important,” said Maureen Kenny, owner of Nutmeg Olive Oil. “And the Garden Club does an amazing job.”
Many of the downtown merchants have also contributed to the beauty by adding their own window boxes and/or planters and maintaining them.
Kenny and Brad Tranfield, owner of Robertson Jewelers, are among the local merchants who have also added planters outside their stores.
Not only do they maintain their own, but they also help the garden club by watering the club’s two tubs at the corner of Main and Bank streets throughout the week.
“Water access was installed on the front of the building, so we could have a hose,” Kenny said, noting how the hose enables herself and Tranfield to water their own plants, as well as take turns watering those in the club’s nearby planters.
Prior to the hose installation, like garden club members do regularly to tend to their gardens, Kenny and Tranfield carried large jugs of water to nurture their flowers.
“It’s wonderful that they are so cooperative and helpful to get us water,” Garden Club President Ann Stone said of the businesses that help the club. “We really appreciate it.”
Garden club members water the gardens they maintain regularly — with jugs of water. In addition, the sprinkler system on the Green and visits from a Public Works truck supply water as well.
The club maintains eight plant tubs on the Village Green, the gardens around the war memorial and monuments on the Green, the gardens in front of and behind town hall, the garden near the welcome sign at the Traffic-T or the garden at Helen Marx Park.
La Picolina, Johana’s Restaurant and Nordica on the west side of Main Street, Swank, Play, The Children’s Corner, Reis Learning Center and Lucia on Bank Street and Cool Hand Duke’s, Home Buffet, All Aboard, Iron Rail, O’Connors, Jimmy’s Barber Shop and Skin Tonic all have flower pots or greens outside their storefronts.
Some businesses have hanging plants.
“The first word that comes to mind is vibrant,” said Tony Vengrove, owner of The Makery Coworking on Bank Street. “What better than plants out on the street to make the downtown feel more virbant and a kind of living, breathing ecosystem that’s healthy.”
Vengrove said the plants bring “simple color to the sidewalk.”
Neighbors keep an eye on others’ plants, too, according to Kenny, who said she occasionally waters nearby plants if flowers need some extra TLC.
Tranfield said “hometown pride” is what motivates the merchants, many of whom live in the community, to go the extra mile to help beautify the downtown.
“We want to be proud of our environment,” Tranfield said. “We love it that people come from out of town and visit us.”
Tranfield related an experience he had last year while water the flowers in the big planters near his store.
“Last fall when I was watering on a Sunday morning, people came over to me and specifically wanted me to know that they were from out of town — never before here — and wanted to thank me for maintaining the beautiful displays,” he said.
“And they wanted to let me know how much they appreciated the beautiful flowers on the Green, and said that’s why they would come back,” he said.
“People do appreciate the local efforts,” he said.
Kenny and Tranfield showcase their green thumbs at the start of planting season, usually sometime in May, through autumn.
Within the next few weeks summer plants will be removed to make way for autumn plants, such as mums.
“We all try to put shine on the town in the best way we can,” Kenny said.
Stone reflected on the variety of plants that add color and beauty to the downtown.
“No matter what kind of flowers you put in (a planter), another flower will complement it,” said Stone, who has been a garden club member for 47 years.
Maintaining gardens and tubs downtown has long been a club activity, one that takes many volunteer hours and efforts.
“It’s a lot of work but it’s worth it when people drive by and you’re working away at they something like, “Nice job,’” Stone said. “It makes your day.”