Abigail’s Garden is a project I started planning in January. I did not share my vision until I had all the plans and two people that were willing to help with this very rewarding and overwhelming project. The idea of some sort of garden or lawn area in front of the A. T. Smith house has been talked about for the past 4 or 5 years with nothing being done. Like everything related to the house and grounds we never seemed to be ready. I got tired of continuing to kick that can done the road and began Abigail’s Garden.
Without board approval I began investigating how I could begin this project. I started with a notebook listing people who might help me. I first called Jim Hilsenkopf to see if he would be my Co Chair. Then I called my friend Marci Degmans who is a Landscape Designer. Both were more than willing to work on this project with me. I then asked David Morelli what area of the front yard we could plant a garden in. This happened in early February 2018.
With the area designated Jim, Marci and I began to design a garden to fit that area.
I knew things I wanted. For example, I wanted native and period plants. Of which we have nearly two hundred. The garden also needed a split rail fence as Mr. Smith referred to splitting rails and building fences with them (from his diary on May 6, 1842: A.T. Smith hauled out rails with one yoke of oxen).
On May 6, 2018. Jim and Carol Hilsenkopf, and I put the split rail fence in the garden.
I also wanted benches in the garden and a simple arch and paths.
I received approval of the FHFG board at the February 2018 meeting.
Jim and I began ordering the native plants. David dug out a very large stump. After the stump was removed Jim and I began the ground preparation and picking up plants. Jim and Carol baby sat those nearly 200 hundred plants.
It took a couple of months for the irrigation system paths and grounds to be prepared. 70% of the work was done by Jim and myself with a lot of 6 and 9 hour days. Without Jim this project would not be where it is now. He spent countless hours more in addition to our combined hours.
We did have one work day where 4 people from the Washington Co. Work release helped us spread 13 yard of gravel on the paths in 4 hours and 4 other volunteers raked. dug post holes and planted shrubs. We had one day were 3 volunteers helped us plant 140 plants. The arch was put into place and the 3 benches installed all done on May 17th, 2018. We later spread bark mulch and Jim completed the final gravel on the paths later.
A special thanks to the many volunteers including: Carol Hilsenkopf, Carol Taylor, Cecelia Chapman, Kathy Juvet, Tom Carlson, Melody Haveluck, Tom Beck, and Richard Hanchu, Ken and Terri Erskine.
Many business’s gave us materials or very generous discounts.
Not many people really know the extent or how beautiful the garden is. There are still plants and items that can be fully or partially sponsored.
There will be a dedication and ribbon cutting at the annual picnic when the garden is officially open.