Start of Garden Way
In late 2009, Kennett Township Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) member Joe Popitti decided he no longer wanted to see a tangle of unsightly, invasive weeds at the entrance to his community, where State and Cypress Streets meet McFarland Road. He proposed to the EAC that the group do something to approve the appearance of that spot. Juergen Steininger (then an employee of Longwood Gardens) made inquiries and approached bulb supplier Zabo Plant USA and asked for a donation of 13,000 lily bulbs, which they generously agreed to supply. With further donations of plants (from Conrad Pyle) and planting materials (Longwood Gardens), as well as money to get the project off the ground (from Kennett Township) and the blessing of PennDOT, the Garden Way started to become a reality.
Susan Weber and company Garden Design Group got the site tilled and about 4,000 bulbs planted. Now volunteers were needed. There were thousands of bulbs to plant and at first there was Joe Poppiti, his wife Beth, and daughter Katie to plant them. Juergen helped when he could, and EAC members Chris Bish, John Larmann, Steve Carter, and Matt Sabo spread mulch, but the planting was something that took real time commitment.
Kennett Square Lions Club
At that point, the Kennett Square Lions Club stepped in and the project became a true community endeavor. Jack Schwartz of the Lions Club played a key role in getting the membership involved, organizing the work crews, and keeping the interest and momentum of the project going.
Those same volunteers (and some new ones) have continued to work on the site over the past five years with increasing commitment from the Township. The road crew led by Roger Lysle have mowed around the site and this year even made mulch from the yard waste left at the recycling center and a donation of spent mushroom compost from Pietro Mushrooms. Garden front
In 2011 the site won the national Keep America Beautiful Award, and in 2012 it won a community gardening award from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. The site continues to expand, with day lilies being added in 2014. If you would like to help expand and maintain the garden for all to enjoy, call the Kennett Township office at 610-388-1300, and tell them you would like to help with the Garden Way. View photos of the Garden Way.