Beach Drive Circular Garden
Award-Winning Beauty At The Seawall
A brick walkway encircles this four-season garden.
Pilings are from a tree that washed up at the Seawall.
Ann Fariss & Tom Halverson help in Park cleanup.
Scott La Morte helps install the circular brick walkway.
LIA volunteers created and maintain this garden.
Garden Volunteers: Alanna (Captain), Jeff, John, Cheryl, Beth and Fr. Tom
By Charlie Lautier
Visitors to the Stratford Seawall have a wonderful opportunity to visit the nearby Beach Drive Circular Garden in the Town of Stratford’s Beach Drive Park - bounded by Beach Drive and First and West Hillside Avenues (see LIA Gardens Map).
Surrounded by a circular brick walkway, the distinctive configuration showcases many beautiful four-season perennial plants: Evergreen Mugo Pines, White Flowering Hydrangeas, Red Rose plants, Gold Mound Spirea, Variegated Lily Turf, Montauk Daisies and Little Zebra Grasses. Summer annuals include Red Verbena, Yellow Marigolds, and Little Verbena. And every year, annuals include Marigolds and flowering Vinca.
The attractive garden and circular walkway were designed by Garden Captain Kevin Regan, and installed with the help of his friend Scott La Morte and a team of LIA ‘Diggers’ in the Spring of 2014.
At the same time, Kevin and Scott installed the garden’s prominent centerpiece - roped nautical pilings, which came from a sawed tree that washed up at the Seawall. Two engraved bricks in the walkway honor Kevin and Scott for their designs and work.
However, the genesis for the garden goes further back.
WHERE IT BEGAN …
On a sunny Sunday in August 2013, LIA and neighbor volunteers brought tools and energy to the Town’s Beach Drive Park to give it a thorough cleaning – picking up trash, sifting through sand and weeds, planting roses behind the Town’s two benches, and more. (See more about that day.)
Later, LIA member Ann Fariss had an idea. She was also an original member of the Town’s Beautification Committee, whose chairman at the time was Dave Killeen, Stratford’s Town Planner.
To thank the Town’s committee for its hard work, Dave invited everyone to his home in West Haven, where he showed the committee his oval-shaped public garden that all passersby could enjoy on a year-round basis.
Ann liked the similarity of that garden's location to what we enjoy in Lordship: public land directly across from the Seawall. She presented the idea of a garden at Beach Drive Park to the LIA, which, while noting concerns of possible flooding at that spot, approved LIA funds to create the garden.
Similarly, the Town approved the LIA plan to create and maintain the garden with seasonal flowers. The open space lawn area mowing is the responsibility of the Town’s Parks Department.
This ambitious project was embraced by the volunteer support of landscape professionals and many others.
“And what a project it was,” Ann says. “It took a month to build this beautiful garden. I began a group we called ‘The Diggers,” and these neighbors helped dig, lay bricks and more. They were always willing to help anytime I called.”
The immediate success of this project can be measured by the well-deserved Volunteer Service Award that LIA received from the Town of Stratford’s Beautification Committee in 2014 for creating this garden.
So, next time you visit the Stratford Seawall to enjoy a view of Long Island Sound, be sure to add to your enjoyment of the area by turning around and strolling over to the circular oasis of a garden filled with so many colorful flowers.
See also: About the author.
Volunteer! Enjoy meeting and working with your neighbors to enhance and preserve Lordship’s beauty. Say hello at LordshipIA@gmail.com.
2013: Volunteers clean up Beach Drive Park at the Seawall.