Changes are coming to downtown Chester, and Potting Shed Garden Club members are working to revitalize the Gadsden Street Breezeway Garden as a contribution to downtown redevelopment. Plans call for the planting of flowering shrubs, climbing vines, ground covers, and hundreds of bulbs. There will be color throughout the year. Club member Kathy Davis created the landscape design and is overseeing the project, while member Susan Hite assists as coordinator.
“The garden and its meandering sidewalk get a lot of foot traffic from folks walking from the parking lot to Gadsden Street and others just walking through town,” says club President Mark Cockerille. “Our goal is to create an inviting, colorful oasis in the heart of downtown for visitors to enjoy and perhaps take a break from their busy day.”
The club created the garden in the early 2000’s, using elements from the overgrown woods in old Wylie Park to bring character to a vacant lot. Fence panels, granite markers, and a triple trellis were relocated to the long, rectangular space. To soften the walls of the adjoining buildings, club members carefully selected a blue-green paint, which can still be seen today along with the mural of Wylie Park painted on one of the buildings.
The new plans include repainting the beautiful latticework, repairing the fountain, installing flagstone and more. The showpiece will feature hundreds of bulbs that will put on a show all year long.
First though, the soil must be amended, the flagstone installed. Hite contacted Daniel Stover, Agriculture Instructor and Future Farmers of America Advisor at the Career Center at Chester High School. She asked if he and his students would partner with the garden club to help till and amend the soil and to expand the fountain’s flagstone patio under the guidance of John Davis, husband of Kathy Davis. “He was most enthusiastic!” says Cockerille.
Club members met Stover and his students at the garden site March 4 to go over the blueprints and brainstorm the process, including the possibility of restoring the mural. The students’ community spirit was inspiring. “This is a great partnership with the youth of our county,” Cockerille stated. “This is such a giving community. We already have support from City True Value Hardware and Scott’s Hyponex.”
The Breezeway Garden will be revamped this year and will be in full bloom next spring. The club plans to host a garden party in spring 2023 to celebrate the first blooms of the reborn garden. For more information or if you would like to help with Potting Shed Garden Club’s Breezeway Garden Project, call Cockerille at 803.209.0399.