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Eagle Scout To Revive Barnes Museum Community Garden

Worthy goal: to restore a legacy for all to enjoy.

When high school senior and Life Scout Leon Peschel thought about what he'd like to accomplish for his Eagle Scout rank, history came to mind.

Peschel consulted with library staff and found restoring the community garden to its original beauty was a project worth the effort.

Peschel pitched the idea of "The Scout Garden" to museum curator Marie Secondo, who said it was a dream come true. While the two met over a two-year period, Peschel is responsible for the landscape design, including contacting area nurseries, garden enthusiasts and businesses for donations, plus outreach to volunteers to participate in the restoration.

Secondo used the museum's extensive archive to research how the property looked when the Barnes family enjoyed the garden.

"We're taking into account what would have been planted in the family garden but we're also interested in establishing a low maintenance environment. Flowers such as Double Red Knockout Roses (Rosa Radrazz) which are hearty and self-sustaining will bring great color and require minimal care."

Other plants that are in the design are Boxwood (Buxus Sinica), Bee Balm Colrain Red (Monarda didyma), and two varieties of Japanese Laurel (Acuba japonica) and (Acer palmatum "Wolff").

Similar to a parterre style garden, the layout will consist of an overall square shape with four separate beds that will surround the existing stone water fountain. Grass surface will unite the entire space for easy maneuvering.

The dining room will have a direct view to the newly renovated area as it once was looked upon by the Barnes family years ago.

The original Barnes Museum garden was featured in Country Home Magazine in 1922. "It was quite an honor to be included in the national publication," said Secondo. "This project and property is deserving of care and I couldn't be happier anticipating the results."

Both are excited about the upcoming groundbreaking ceremony May 3, 2012, followed by the excavations and planting the first weekend of May.

"Earning my Eagle Scout rank will be an incredible achievement for me, one that I'll be incredibly proud of," said Peschel. But the project itself also ranks high, as the purpose of restoring the selected area is to bring back beauty to the grounds.

Creating a focal point outside the museum, he said, "Will be something the whole community can enjoy." 

For information on volunteering or donating, email Leon Peschel at peschel.leon@gmail.com or call him at (860) 384-5318.

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