Gardens at Drew Park are harvesting national recognition.
The small Warde Terrace green space, home to the town's community gardens, has been selected as one of the public gardens to be designated an All-America Selections Display Garden.
Drew Park's Demonstration and Display Garden joins a group of 183 All-America Selections Display Gardens in North America, and is the first of its kind in Connecticut, according to a press release from First Selectman Michael Tetreau's office. The Drew Demonstration and Display Garden will be able to display the flowers and plants that have been declared AAS winners in the past five years.
It was created several years ago from five plots among the community gardens for the purposes of garden education and production of sustainable vegetables for local food pantries. In 2012, a compost area was built as an Eagle Scout project, and through an ACT grant, nine raised gardening beds were created by volunteers and Girl Scouts for seniors and special-needs gardeners. Six additional raised beds were later built for seniors from Parish Court.
All-America Selections was founded in 1932 and continues as the oldest independent plant-testing organization in North America. Every year, never-before-sold varieties are tested in trial grounds, including the University of Connecticut, where professional horticulturists determine which varieties will be deemed winners based on garden performance.
The local Demonstration and Display Garden is maintained by volunteers from the community gardens at Drew Park, as well as by the Greenfield Hill Grange and Our Saviour's Lutheran Church. The project is led by UConn Master Gardener Intern Eric Frisk. In addition to displays in the Demonstration and Display Garden, plant varieties are also displayed at the park in gardens maintained by gardeners from Abilities Beyond Disabilities and Project Triumph of the Kennedy Center.
This year, the Drew Park Demonstration and Display Garden partnered with Fairfield Woods Branch Library to grow heirloom seeds for the library's Seed-to-Seed collection and to be a resource for the "Seed to Plate" vegetable garden education program. Produce from the gardening activities is donated to local food pantries -- more than 2,000 servings of vegetables last year.
"The town is very proud that our community garden is the only one in the state to receive this prestigious honor," Tetreau said in the release. "I thank everyone who has been involved in this endeavor from its inception in 1995 to now and I encourage the public to visit these beautiful gardens."
For more information about the Drew Park community gardens, contact Tree Warden Ken Placko at 203-256-3177.