Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Garden Update

The garden club has been a part of Matzke Park for a very long time.  We began the development just over 10 years ago.  Today I stopped by the garden.  Most of our membership, like myself, has aged with the garden and a few of us can't provide for all the gardening needs at the park.  Most of the beds look well tended and colorful.  Other beds are filled with grass, weeds and vines.  Thank goodness Meda and Joan continue to provide education to day care children! 

 I am suggesting we consider hiring someone to come once a month to help with weeding as our own efforts to weed and trim are quickly overwritten with more weeds.  Please remember that if the garden club does not maintain the garden the county will take control and make that area easier for them to maintain. 

I am not asking our garden club members to do the physical work but it is important to have ladies support the garden and to be a part of the team with ideas and suggestions on continued maintenance.  Here is a reminder of some early posts on this blog from years past.  The Goals for the Garden have remained the same

February 18, 2011

History of Matzke Park   

     This 20-acre green space has been a vital part of the community since the early 1960s. Its transformation into a park is an example of what can happen when public officials, local businesses, and private citizens work together for the good of the community.
     When the owner of the property, the Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District (CFISD), put it up for sale in 1994, area residents joined together to establish the Association for Better Community Schools (ABCS), a nonprofit organization devoted to saving the land as a community park. ABCS’s first action was to contact the area’s Harris County commissioner, Jerry Eversole, who worked diligently with ABCS to secure a plan that would keep the property as a recreational space.
     Commissioner Eversole committed $2 million to purchase the land from CFISD in 1999 and $200,000 in matching funds to assist ABCS with the development costs. A $100,000 donation to ABCS from Compaq Computer in 1997 helped the organization raise more than $300,000 toward the park’s development, which includes the Butterfly Garden and the Be An Angel barrier-free playground.
     A monument is being erected here to give recognition to the area residents whose volunteer time and donations assisted Harris County Precinct 4 in creating this community park. Special gratitude and thanks go to Tracy Torma, ABCS president, and the ABCS Board of Directors: Carol Bennett, Margaret Buchanan, Joan Fitzgerald, Susan Greenwade, Maura Hanlon, Martin Heemer, Paul Herman, and Kathy Reagle. Their vision and hard work preserved this park for generations to enjoy.

February 16, 2011

History of Garden Development

     Thoughts and plans for this garden began in 1995 when an organization, The Association for Better Community Schools (ABCS), was formed to save the undeveloped property at the corner of Jones Rd. and Grant Rd. from becoming a strip mall. This 20 acres of mostly vacant field has a number of very old pine and oak trees. Over a number of years ABCS raised funds and worked with Harris County to purchase it from the Cy-Fair school district. The field was used for soccer with minimal maintenance until park development began in June of 2006 with a parking lot and restrooms.
      In 2000, Norchester Garden Club led a fundraiser to provide seed money, and initial plans were developed for a Butterfly Garden at the southwest end of the area.. An auction was held and $1750 was raised. (Garden Development then went on hold until 2007 when Precinct 4 installed water lines for us.)
                                                 In September 2006, Carol Bennett became Project Leader for the garden project and at that time drew up the garden plan seen here. She worked with Precinct 4 and Mercer Arboretum to complete plans for a Butterfly Garden and Learning Center. The initial two beds grew into three more raised beds. Fencing, benches and a gazebo were also added.
     The garden is a result of many individuals and businesses donating money, materials, and labor. We received a generous gift for 2/3 of the cost of the gazebo, with ABCS making up the remaining third. The gazebo provides much needed shade, weather protection and a wonderful view of the garden. Our sign honors those contributing $500 or more towards the garden. It was constructed with the help of the Precinct 4 Parks Department. Invested in this project, as of December 2010, is $47,336 which came from grants, in-kind donations, gift cards and cash from community individuals and businesses. It does not include the donated labor required to refresh and maintain it.
     The garden has been accepted as a Monarch Waystation. We are number 1905 on the international and national register. Waystation certification has requirements that include sun exposure, drainage and soil types, shelter and density of planting, (shelter for all life stages), number of milkweed plants and nectar plants with sustainable management practices. Bleyl Junior High has a Monarch Butterfly Program for its students and release tagged Monarchs. Matzke Elementary School, just to the south, has brought their kindergarten and 2nd grade students to observe the butterflies. On nice days, teachers bring their students to enjoy the garden. We also have local people raising monarchs for release here.

Goals for the Garden:
  • Create a beautiful respite for walkers, joggers and students
  • Create a garden designed to attract and nurture Monarch Butterflies
  • Provide a learning opportunity for the community and students
  • Involve the surrounding community in building and maintaining it

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