Andover’s Garden Club Prioritizes Civic Beautification

New garden competition awards program

By Mary Lou McCrave
Anne Hewitt, Jen Turner, and Joann Hicks recently worked at the Town Office roadside perennial border. Caption and photo: Larry Chase

A priority of Andover’s new Garden Club is civic beautification, and you can help give the quaint and picturesque town of Andover a face-lift by participating in a new annual horticultural awards program, “The Beautification of Andover – A Garden Competition.”

The first annual competition begins on Wednesday, June 1, and includes both businesses and residential locations in Andover. This program encourages people to enhance their surroundings with eye-catching gardens and horticultural displays. Any Andover resident or business is eligible to participate – no garden is too big or too small and can include container gardens, patio gardens, water gardens, native gardens, vegetable or flower gardens, neighborhood gardens, rural mailbox gardens … the sky’s the limit! 

Main Street business owners can especially help by responding “Yes!” when a member of the Beautification Committee approaches them to join in the fun.

Awards for first, second, and third place will be presented in mid- to late September. Winning gardens and displays will be judged using the Standards of Evaluating Landscape Design, including: suitability, implementation, plant materials, aesthetic, design, and structure. Preliminary judging will be conducted by the Club, with final judging made by local professional horticulturists and designers.

Email no later than Thursday, June 30, for more information and to be included on the list of gardens to be judged.

The Club is also focusing its beautification efforts on the grounds around the historic Town Office building. The colorful perennial border outside of the Town Office on New Hampshire Route 11 has for many years been lovingly cared for by the Andover Service Club. It will now be maintained by the Garden Club. 

Beautification Committee members spent a recent morning amending the soil and installing newly donated plants. In addition, they spread soil, grass seed, and straw mulch on the grass strip between the border and the driveway. If there is success reestablishing the lawn in this area, other sections will also be installed. 

If you have perennial plants to donate for this garden, please email to arrange for digging, pick-up, or delivery.

Also ahead for Club members this summer and fall are especially coordinated outings and field trips. Program Committee member Liz Kingsley amassed an impressive list of garden sites and members were polled about their preferences. The final four are the John Hay Estate at The Fells in Newbury; Canterbury Shaker Village in Canterbury; Billings Farm in Woodstock, Vermont; and Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park in Cornish. Carpooling will be arranged for travel to the various sites and group rates arranged when possible. 

A detailed outline of specific dates and times for each trip will be available at the upcoming Club meeting being held at the Andover Community Hub from 3 to 5 PM on Wednesday, June 8. Liz said that there might also be a scramble of other “pop-up” trips!

Lilac Society President John Bentley also joins the Club at its June meeting for a lilac pruning demonstration. In addition, an informal perennial plant exchange will be held. Participants bring one or more labeled (plant name, size, color) perennials and take another one or two or more plants to bring home! No plants to trade? That’s okay, there will be some available for everyone. Cash donations are gladly accepted to help support the Club’s beautification efforts.

The Andover New Hampshire Garden Club is a program of the Andover Community Hub and membership is free and open to all. New Club members are always welcome. Email for information. Information on up-to-date events and meetings can also be found on the Club’s Facebook page.