It was something that really started to trouble Elizabeth Hatch whenever she traveled along Route 6 in Marion or passed an intersection in town where weeds had become the dominant flora. How could such a lovely community allow some public areas and easements to be so ill-kempt? She understood that economics and priorities – in a large part – were a contributing factor, but she also wondered what could be done to beautify these eyesores.
As a long-time member of the Marion Garden Group, Hatch thought about how she and the group could do something to change what she believed was a huge oversight. Her mantra, “We can do better,” kept a steady rhythm driving her to reach out to other members.
Hatch, along with MGG members, planned and executed small fundraising events like plant sales to raise money for a new sign that would welcome and greet visitors traveling to Marion. Now with the sign ready for installation, Hatch says there is still more work to be done: a beautiful sign simply wouldn’t be enough. “We can do better” – the mantra beats on.
On July 26, Hatch opened her Allen’s Point home for a benefit. Tickets were sold for a cocktails and lavish refreshments gathering at her property overlooking Sippican Harbor. The event, “Fundraiser for Marion Beautification,” brought out a crowd of like-minded residents who support Hatch’s plan to landscape areas throughout the community with tasteful plantings.
“There are so many areas that need attention,” Hatch explained while standing on her patio in front of a display of landscaping conceptual designs for intersections along Route 6, Route 105, as well as other heavily traveled locations. And while she appreciates that several commercial establishments along the business district have landscaped their properties, Hatch believes that a partnership between the Town and the MGG could accomplish so much more in public spaces.
“The response from the garden group and the community has been overwhelming,” Hatch shared with a smile. For, although she was very committed to pushing her agenda, she was unsure if others would sign on to help. On that night those doubts were dispelled.
“If we can get enough money to beautify these areas, it will make a huge impact,” Hatch said.
Part of the evening’s gala included the opportunity for benefactors to adopt a particular plant to use in the landscaping efforts.
Mallory Waterman, a garden group member, felt so strongly that Hatch was on the right track, she wrote a letter to the group’s board of directors in support of the project.
“I wrote the board and told them that this project was the most important project the group could undertake,” said Waterman. “I said, ‘Everyone needs to be onboard.’
“People who generally stay quiet spoke up,” continued Waterman. “It’s an amazing idea.”
The placement of the glorious new welcome sign is scheduled for installation on the grounds of the historic Captain Hadley House on the corner of Route 6 and Front Street.
Sippican Historical Society treasurer Judith Rosbe said, “We preserved the Captain Hadley house and hold a preservation easement over the property.” She added that any changes made to the building or the grounds must be approved by SHS; however, it was their pleasure to agree to an easement for placement of the new welcome sign and associated landscaping at the iconic intersection.
Hatch said she still has to clear permitting issues with Town boards, but during her presentation to the Board of Selectman last spring, the selectmen were in favor of the plan.
Hatch is hopeful that the sign will be placed sometime in the September – October timeframe.
In a follow up with The Wanderer, Hatch shared that she feels energized moving forward given the tremendous support she and the MGG have received thus far.
“It will be transformative,” she said.
The proceeds raised by the benefit were “substantial,” Hatch said, but the need for financial support will be ongoing, as maintenance will have its cost too.
Hatch said her event that night inspired others to do fundraisers, saying, “Someone said they want to do a tennis benefit!
“It’s validation we are on the right track,” she said with a satisfied sigh.
To learn more about the Marion Garden Group or how you can help, visit mariongardengroup.com or contact Elizabeth Hatch at email@example.com.
The Marion Garden Group
By Marilou Newell