Coming Up Roses 2

Grapevine Garden Club Digs in to Post Office Project

At the West Chester Post Office, it’s coming up roses…and daisies and creeping phlox and hydrangeas. The blooming flower beds of the Post Office are in the gifted hands of the Grapevine Garden Club of West Chester, which has adopted the space at 8730 Cincinnati-Dayton Road as its ongoing gardening project and gift to the community.

Grapevine Garden Club started the post office project in 2013, starting with the less than glamorous job of tearing out the overgrown shrubs and weeds that filled the beds framing its entrance.

“The whole front was a lot of very overgrown burning bush that had probably been there since the post office was built,” explains Donna Ferguson, Master Gardener and Project Director of the West Chester Post Office Garden Project, speaking on behalf of the Grapevine Garden Club.

“Basically, what influences the garden design at the post office are the conditions,” Ferguson says. “We’ve got to use plants that are drought-tolerant and can handle the full shade in the morning and glaring sun all afternoon. Watering it is not easy.”

The Grapevine Garden Club’s volunteers face the same challenges as any gardener in our neck of the woods: rocky soil, a narrow space and dry conditions.

“Evergreeens are what you call bones of the garden,” Ferguson says, “so we started with two vertical junipers. Then we planted the roses—red and white knockout roses—and the blue salvia.”

It has been a process, figuring out what works in the soil and weather, sometimes by trial and error. Ferguson says the Garden Club volunteers have had much success with a variety of native plants, which are hearty and drought-tolerant—perfect for southwestern Ohio’s unpredictable weather patterns. Each season brings new red-white-and-blue blooms with a background of evergreens and ground cover.

This spring, watch the Post Office beds for the early blooms of blue and white hyacinths and red tulips. More red-tipped tulips will follow later in spring, edged with some blue creeping phlox and bookended by the white blooms of little lamb hydrangeas.

During the summer, Becky shasta daisies flourish under each bay window in front of the post office, mixed with some red echinacea, commonly known as coneflowers, and blue stokesia.

Ferguson says the Grapevine Garden Club struggles to keep the patriotic color scheme going in the fall.

“By the time we are rolling into September and October, you can expect to see fall colors—yellows and oranges—mums, mostly.”

The entire project is funded by the Grapevine Garden Club.

Club members do all of this hard work for the love of the garden and the community.

“I have been surprised at the joy it has brought to people,” Ferguson adds. “It’s a bright spot in some people’s days. It’s something pretty to look at when you’ve got to go do business there. Some people just walk by fast, but others stop to comment on the improvement, say thank you or ask questions about the plants.”

Ferguson projects that the Grapevine Garden Club has some years of work ahead of them yet.

“Any garden is an ongoing project,” nods Ferguson. “Always.”

The Grapevine Garden Club meets in West Chester for monthly meetings, March through December. Programming includes lectures, garden tours and community projects. No gardening knowledge or previous experience is necessary to be a member. Follow the Grapevine Garden Club on Facebook: Facebook.com/GrapevineGC/.