Garden of the Month

by Jackie Reid Dettloff

In this month when we celebrate Memorial Day we focus on a memorial garden. The plantings on the east side of Pierce School on the 2700 block of North Fratney were established more than a decade ago as a tribute to teachers at the school.

Karen Zakszewski remembers that in one very sad year, no fewer than four staff members died of cancer. To commemorate these colleagues, she coordinated a campaign to create a memorial garden. The MPS crews came out to prepare the soil, Principal Alice Somers found money in her budget to help buy perennial plants and teachers also chipped in. The garden became a reality.

It is planted to be beautiful in every season. Last month the crocus were out in full color; this month the hyacinth and forsythia take their turn. Through the summer there are coral bells and hosta; in the fall the burning bush blazes out and through the winter the spreading juniper grows ever green.

Even though Zakszewski takes special responsibility for maintenance, she says the garden is tended by the Pierce community as a whole. One year the science teacher arranged for every child in the school to plant a bulb flower. Often it is Riverwest neighbor Peter Rodriguez who helps with weeding.

“This garden makes us all feel good about our school,” Zakszewski says. It also brightens the vista of any Riverwest neighbor who happens to walk past.

Riverwest Currents online edition – May, 2007