Frostburg lamppost baskets take on decorated look | Community

FROSTBURG — The House and Garden Club of Frostburg has begun filling lamppost baskets with greenery decorated with lights and bows, maintaining 62 of them to brighten up the city streets.

The project started in 1996 when the club purchased 16 metal hayrack baskets from a company in England. In recent years, baskets have been made locally by Keith Skidmore, with materials provided by Hunter Douglas and American Woodmark. Garden club members, merchants and other volunteers plant and maintain lamppost baskets with flowers and then pine from May through early spring on Main, Center and Broadway streets. They also plant flowers in five baskets at the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad Depot and maintain eight planters at the trailhead below the depot. Team leaders include Susie Bucchino, Carol McKenzie and Rhonda Reed.

Truckloads of pine are donated by several local companies, including Wayne and Glenne Blocker at Earth and Tree, JP Andrick at Andrick Tree Farm and Ed Geis at Bittersweet Acres Tree Farm. The club purchases two boxes of lights and two bows for each basket. Funding comes from a portion of the Frostburg hotel/motel tax revenue and individual donations.

Donations to the project can be made through the Foundation for Frostburg, P.O. Box 765, Frostburg, MD 21532. Download a form at http://foundationforfrostburg.org/give.html and indicate House and Garden Club of Frostburg. The holiday lamppost wreath project has a separate fund at the foundation and contributions can be made on the same form.

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Belmont garden is a testament to hard work and creativity

BELMONT — For 15 years, Mary Trotochaud and Rick McDowell’s garden in Belmont has been evolving virtually under the public eye. On Saturday, July 29, you are invited to return to this well-loved garden when the Belfast Garden Club showcases it for the first time in seven years as part of its summer event series, Open Garden Days.

The Trotochaud and McDowell’s garden at 103 Northport Road in Belmont will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine. Admission is $5. It is the sixth of nine private gardens the club is presenting on Saturdays through Aug. 19 during Open Garden Days. 

The Belfast Garden Club featured the couple’s garden for the first time in 2011 and then again in 2016. Their two-acre property is also home to Trotochaud’s Everyday Pottery Studio, a popular stop on Maine pottery tours. 

Trotochaud’s pottery — including bowls, cups, and vases—are designed for daily enjoyment. She says her glazes often take inspiration from colors in the garden. Ceramic birdbaths and bird feeders from her potter’s wheel are among the highlights of the couple’s garden beds.

Trotochaud and McDowell developed the garden year by year, clearing trees as necessary, cutting back scrub brush, extracting roots, and enriching the soil. Today they have 13 vegetable beds, a half dozen perennial beds and nine fruit trees, including cherry, peach, apple, pear, crabapple, fig and plum. Trotochaud and McDowell also grow cranberries, blueberries, rhubarb, raspberries, bread seed poppies, hazelberts and mushrooms. A romantic grape arbor supports three varieties of grapes. 

“We kept expanding our space,” says McDowell, a carpenter. “Every year we evaluate what we did, what worked, what didn’t.”

These energetic gardening partners — one-time Iraq policy specialists who worked in Washington, D.C., and Baghdad and moved to Maine, McDowell says,

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