Around Town

April 2021

Protecting Our Public Spaces

SGC supports Little Compton “Town Landing” restoration and protection effort

There is a special place in Little Compton, Rhode Island, locally referred to as the “Town Landing”.  The “Town Landing” sits seaside on a lovely bluff with wide ocean views off to Martha’s Vineyard to the southeast, and Block Island (or the windmills on a perfect day) to the southwest. There is a short trail down to a rocky beach, A haven for outdoor activities, the “Landing” welcomes walkers, runners, birders, strollers, bikers, and even drivers (limited parking).  Many come to sit and watch sea life, surfers, boaters or to enjoy a seasonal picnic. 

Hester Simmons is the benefactor of the Town Landing, her will calling for it to be “used for recreational purposes – free to all.”  Ms. Simmons’ home was once situated upon the Landing’s bluff, but it quite literally blew away in the Hurricane of 1938.  Upon her death in 1948 she left the remaining property to Little Compton.  As lovely as it is the “Landing” reveals that little attention has been paid to its care and nurturing over the years.  The result has been deterioration with bluff erosion, ruts from poor drainage, with grasses turned to mud.  However, a recent volunteer committee partnered with town officials to seek improvement funding.  Some Sogkonate Garden Club members or their spouses serve on this committee.  Almost $170,000 was raised consisting of blended funding from the DEM (80K), the town of Little Compton (23K) and private donations (66K!) Save the Bay staff also offered consultation to the effort. The resources raised have allowed for an environmental engineer and landscape architect to create and implement a transformation plan.  Private funds will be dedicated to future protection needs.  Work began in the fall of 2020 and will be completed this spring. The result should be a safer, more beautiful, and environmentally resilient public recreational space.

Sogkonate Garden Club (SGC) members voted overwhelmingly in January to make a representative donation to the Town Landing fund.  It was the consensus of club members that this investment in a community resource was quite timely. The Covid 19 pandemic caused many club events to be canceled, postponed or moved to Zoom which made certain unanticipated funds available. The pandemic has been a driver of public desire for outdoor spaces for exercise and fresh air, thus members felt the timing was good to support the improvement of this lovely community asset. Members also have a particular interest in the plantings that will be selected and learned that the intention was to use native plantings to create natural habitats and prevent further deterioration and erosion. 

So, perhaps plan to visit the revitalized Town Landing to witness the progress yourself, or wait until it is fully landscaped and seeded (or both!). 

By: Jeanne W. McAllister,  Little Compton, Rhode Island

March, 2021

 Spring is coming soon, in the meantime we enjoy watching indoor plants such as the beautiful orchids that have been blooming at Carolyn Montgomery’s since January.

 

 

 

 

 

 

December, 2020

MEMBERS GET “CREATIVE” DURING PANDEMIC
 

Sogkonate grade School Committee members are busy preparing to make holiday arrangements with the third grade classes at the Wilbur School. In many ways this project will look similar to years past, with our gardeners cutting a variety of evergreen foliage, procuring floral supplies, and selecting festive decorations to jazz up the arrangements.
In other ways this project will look different to years past, with club members leading virtual instruction over Zoom video instead of in-classroom.

 

 

 

Click on evergreen project to view a video of the program during which Susanne and Joel are instructing the third graders. This was followed by Amanda showing on her camera how to create the special arrangement. The kids made it right along with her and brought it to home enjoy with their families.
 
 
 

 

 

 
Sogkonate Club members additionally assisted the Little Compton Garden Club with a sixth grade wreath project.
  
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOLIDAY SWAGS

 

Did you ever wonder who gathers and assembles the materials to create the swags that decorate the lampposts in the Center of town? Sogkonate Garden Club members recently created the 35 Holiday Swags which will be hung on the wrought iron lamp posts throughout Little Compton Commons.

This annual event began 27 years ago as a means for decorating the town for the annual Ben Wilkie Memorial Tree Spree usually held in the Wilbur McMahon  School Gym.

The assorted greens and berries were donated by Jason Burchard who hosted SGC members at his place for the event. Sandy Sparks and Pat McCarthy made the bows.
 
 

 

The lush red velvet bows complete the swags, which have to endure the strong winter winds of Little Compton. As part of the community event, the swags will be hung by the personnel of the Little Compton Highway Dept. in the coming days. Enjoy the festive decorations!
 
 
 

 

 

November, 2020

MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK

 

On a recent beautiful fall morning, 25 members of the Sogkonate Garden Club gathered to get three gardens (Brownell House, Triangle and Demonstration Meadow) ready for winter. 

 

 

 

 

Armed with clippers, rakes, weeding tools and masks, the members enjoyed the group effort.  Stop by and admire the gardens as they get ready to take their winter rest!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sogkonate Garden Club works collaboratively with:

The Wilbur & McMahon School

(See above) 

Little Compton Community Center

The Garden Club holds most of its programs at the Community Center (except during pandemic) and organizes gardening activities for the children in the after school program and at camp.

 

The Little Compton Wellness Center

The mission of the Little Compton Wellness Center is to promote healthy aging within our community through affordable programs and services.  

The Garden Club offers free workshops to the Day Center participants: in November, members assist each participant in making a silk flower arrangement. In June, members help with the making of a flower arrangement to take home.

 

 

 

 

 

October, 2020

Tour of cranberry bog

On October 14 members of the Sogkonate Garden Club took a tour of the cranberry bog at the Middle Acres Farm in Tiverton, RI.  Started as a dairy farm in the 1820’s it was turned into a corn field and in the 1990’s into a cranberry bog.  Managed by Lucien LeBreux’ nephew the cranberries are harvested in October and sold to make juice.

 

 

Playground Garden

On October 10 a group of members devoted some time to weeding, pulling up damaged plastic cover and mulching the perimeter by the playground.

Stay tuned for news of additional improvements to this lovely area in the center of town.

 

 

 

Little Pick Up Rare Find

At the October 8 litter pickup Rikky LaBerge won the prize for the most unusual item for the day:
a jawbone from possibly a cow.

 

 

 

September, 2020

Sogkonate Garden Club Conservation Effort – Coastal Clean Up
 
On September 19th twenty members of the Sokgonate Garden Club participated in our Coastal Cleanup.   We picked up trash along the beaches at South Shore/Goosewing, Briggs, Philipi, Town Landing , Lloyd’s and the bottom of Town Way.   
 
This year, due to COVID-19, we didn’t tabulate the types of trash we found.  We noticed cigarette butts seem to be everywhere!    Cigarette butts are the largest form of plastic waste in the world —  4.5 trillion of them polluting the earth.   The plastic part of cigarette butts contain hundreds of toxic chemicals that leach into the environment and remain even after the 10-15  years cigarette filters require to decompose.
 
Next year, we hope we can again invite the community to join us in this effort to keep our town beaches clean and beautiful.

 

The Sokognate Garden Conservation Committee organizes roadside clean-ups that collect on average 10 to 20 bags of litter each month.  

 

 

 

 

 

Looking to get rid of household hazardous waste? RI residents can make an appointment to dispose of paint, used motor oil and more at an eco-depot. 

The following items will be accepted:
Fluorescent light bulbs
gasoline
oil-based paint
disinfectant
used motor oil
lawn and propane tanks

Since 2001, the eco-depot program has provided a free way for Rhode Islanders to properly dispose of household hazardous waste. When improperly disposed of, these substances can damage the environment and contaminate the state’s waterways.

July, 2020

More Little Compton/Tiverton sign news (see news below):

A Sakonnet Times article (July 9, 2020) written by Claire Johnson summarized a little origin history about the Little Compton/Tiverton town sign.  This sign, located on W. Main Road on the border of Little Compton and Tiverton,  was erected in 1994 to replace an aging “Little Compton” sign.  The Sogkonate Garden Club’s Civic Beautification Committee (at that time consisting of Carolyn Montgomery and Carole Flores) set the process in motion. They engaged the Tiverton Garden Club’s collaboration.  The two clubs shared the cost of the sign which was erected by LC town employees.  A few years later the sign was damaged during a storm and the two clubs again shared the cost of repairs.  On one side of the sign it reads:  Town of Little Compton, RI, Founded in 1675; Incorporated 1746.  The Tiverton side of the sign states: Town of Tiverton, RI,  Incorporated 1694.  The LC Grange plants a small garden at the base of the sign each year and, as described below, the Sogkonate Garden Club cleans the sign annually. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Little Compton/Tiverton Sign Gets a Cleaning

The two-sided sign, a result of a collaborative effort between the Sogkonate Garden Club and the Tiverton Garden Club and volunteers, gets a recent cleaning  – Thank You to Sandy and Ashley Sparks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out”Gardener’s Corner” for the history of collaboration to make this sign happen.

 

Stop by the outdoor demonstration meadow, now with plant identification signs to help you learn!

Meeting House Lane, Little Compton(by the tennis courts) 

Lupine

 

Blossoms and Sweets May 2020

Over the Memorial Day weekend, our Garden Club traditionally holds Blossoms and Sweets, our biggest fund raiser of the year.  In addition to many plant offerings, we usually organize a Green Elephants table, a raffle and sell baked goods.  Given the current situation the Ways and Means Committee limited the fundraiser to plant sales at various outdoor locations in town.


        

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plants, herbs and shrubs grown by Marty Fisher (by far the largest contributor, thanks Marty!), Ann Beardsley, Rachael Downs-Honey, Kate Kelly, Donna Pilkington and others were for sale at specific locations in town.We extended the sale to the three day weekend and  had a very successful fund raiser. Thanks to all members who organized the event, contributed and bought plants!

 

 

 

 

 

Civic Beautification Tasks April 2020

For information on how we are organizing this spring’s civic beautification activities, please click on CIVIC BEAUTIFICATION 2020

 

Earth Day Celebration 2020

 

Although the official Earth Day celebration on April 25th was cancelled in LC, how about the SGC still contributing by cleaning up our town during Earth Week?  On Tues, April 21 (rain date Thur., April 23) the conservation committee with be at the Brownell House parking lot between 10:00 and 11:00 to distribute bags and gloves for you. Just tell us which street(s) you are going to pick up.  We will practice social distancing, of course; in fact, we plan on a drive through. 

We will be wearing masks and gloves ourselves. 

For those of you who do not have a dump sticker, you may drive back to the parking lot by 11:30 and we will take your bags to the transfer station.  Please wear your SGC vest when picking up the litter.  Nancy Dymecki and Jean Sunny.

 

 
Members’ Garden Tour 2019

On June 5, Garden Club members toured four gardens created and/or maintained by our own members.

 

 

 


 

The group started at the Laurel Acres Farm, a large organic no till vegetable, fruit and herb garden tended by Rikky and Roger Laberge. They grow a wide variety of vegetables and fruit which they share with the food pantries.

 
 
 
 
 


The next stop was at Holly Glade, a large beautiful garden with a mix of sun and shade plants lovingly maintained by Claire Johnson and her husband, Steve.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

The Meadow Project created in 2017 by members of the Horticulture Committee was the next stop. The plants in the meadow have grown back and are looking healthy. It is a very attractive spot for walkers who are making their way to the Dundery Brook Trail near by.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Finally, the group stopped at Ashley Sparks’ garden who moved to a historic house two years ago and is starting to discover all the garden treasures left by previous owners.
 
 

 
 
 
 

 

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Would you like to find out how birds survive the winter? Would you like some help identifying a bird? The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has answers for you! The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a world leader in the study, appreciation, and conservation of birds. Their hallmarks are scientific excellence and technological innovation to advance the understanding of nature and to engage people of all ages in learning about birds and protecting the planet. 

The section of the website All About Birds offers an online guide to birds and bird watching with fascinating articles and research projects.  

 

Little Compton Memorial Wall

The Memorial Wall was a project of the Sogkonate Garden Club which was started in 1999.  Each foot of wall was given in memory of a loved one and was sold for $25 per foot.  Funds were raised and the wall was built and dedicated on Memorial Day 2000.  

However when the new playing field and walking path was built, it was necessary to take down the west end of the wall and for nearly four years there was a huge pile of rocks left on Veteran’s Field.  In late December of this past year, a contract was awarded and the work began to rebuild the wall along Meeting House Lane.