Olde Ripton Garden Club helps with city gardens makeover

Gardens on public properties throughout the city each year bring a touch of color to the community — and residents can thank the efforts of the Olde Ripton Garden Club.
The club has been maintaining numerous public gardens — using money raised through fundraisers, such as its annual plant sale, as well as support from Mayor Mark Lauretti’s "office — for several years. But this year club members feel the gardens need some sprucing up.

“One of the main areas the club is responsible for is the Green in Huntington,” said club President Renee Protomastro. “With new additional fundraising, the club has been able to plan and redesign areas of their gardens to update and refresh the plantings.”
Protomastro said the first two gardens being addressed are those at Huntington Green and Shelton High School, and the club plans in time to redesign others as funds allow.
At the Green, the committee, headed up by Shelton residents Pat Robik and Lisa DiNardo, has undertaken a true transformation. The city of Shelton, with the help of Ron Herrick and his staff and several club volunteers, dug and removed many woody, overgrown plants and relocated them to make way for newer, healthier plants.
At the fountain, the club is starting from scratch. The front bed, best seen from the road, has been replanted for the spring, and plans are to remove the larger overgrown shrubs in the rear in the fall and replace them with newer more appropriately sized plantings. It should be a treat to watch those plants grow and flourish this season, observers noted.
Near the gazebo, special shade needs and public trampling have taken their toll. Protomastro said two volunteers stepped in to help in this difficult area.

“Mark Hansen and son, Chris Hansen, a student at Shelton High School, approached the club to see if Chris could perform his mandatory community service hours by helping us at the Green,” said Protomastro. “They went so far beyond what was required. Chris and his dad worked tirelessly to refresh the soil, make it ready for new plants and dug and planted many new cultivars suited for the spot. It looks absolutely beautiful, and the club is deeply indebted to them.
In time, according to Protomastro, the area around the memorial and behind the clock will also be spruced up.
“Pat and Lisa are both very excited about their plans and the residents of Shelton are lucky to have such dedicated partners who care about making our community shine including wildly representing American flags that proudly wave our patriotism,” said Protomastro. “We hope the community enjoys watching the changes over time.”