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Town and Country Garden Club wins gardening competition

Judges say Zen garden at Western Maryland Hospital Center appeals to all senses

June 08, 2011|By JANET HEIM | janeth@herald-mail.com
  • Heather Collins, left, Susanne Kass, Kay Marschner and Kim Caruso are shown with their winning garden at the Western Maryland Hospital Center.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

Hats and cool beverages were the order of the day Wednesday at an afternoon Garden Tea at the Western Maryland Hospital Center.

The freshly planted garden beds at the hospital center were the perfect backdrop in the heat for the event held by the Therapeutic Gardens Committee in celebration of a recent gardening competition.

Five local garden clubs accepted the challenge to design and plant a garden on the center's property. They began work on the bare sites on April 1 and judging was held Monday.

The 2011 Hugh A. Brandenburg Therapeutic Gardens Competition was named in honor of a longtime volunteer who loved nature.

Cindy Pellegrino, chief executive officer of Western Maryland Hospital Center and one of the judges, presented the award — with a painting of Hugh Brandenburg at her side.

"Being a judge, this is one of the most difficult things I've done," said Pellegrino, adding that the top three gardens were within 2 1/2 points of each other.

The $1,000 prize, provided by an anonymous donor, and a copy of a book Hugh Brandenburg wrote, were presented to the Town and Country Garden Club, which designed a Zen garden.

Club members Susanne Kass, Kim Caruso, Heather Collins and Kay Marschner created a design that engaged all the senses. Herbs and cocoa mulch scented the air, while a long rake in a bed of river stones and pebbles could be used to create lines in the stones and generate sound.

The judges for the competition were Denny Warrenfeltz, owner of Rooster Vane Florist in Funkstown; Washington County Board of Education member Donna Brightman, who is a landscape designer/project manager; and Pellegrino.

"The three judges were given an impossible task to judge these five beautiful garden sites," said Cindy Holzapfel, one of four committee members for the competition and a member of the Therapeutic Gardens Committee.

Warrenfeltz said they were very selective as they judged, also considering how the gardens would look in all four seasons and in time.

"All the garden clubs did a great job. It was a pleasure. We had fun with it," he said.

The competing garden clubs included Antietam, Clear Spring, Crossroads, Hagerstown and Town and Country.

 "We were overwhelmed by the results. Such thought was put into plant choices. There were birdbaths, art for garden sites. It's over the top," Holzapfel said.

Each garden club received framed, before-and-after photographs of their site, as well as a ceramic cardinal painted by the patients and residents of the hospital center.

The effort was undertaken to enhance the healing environment for those at the center, as well as their families and the staff.

"This is a place of serenity and rejuvenation. We're not done. There's much more to come," Holzapfel said.

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