Spring has sprung and blooms are blossoming all around–so too in Wilton Center, which received its own added touch of flowering beautification on Monday, May 21. Wilton Garden Club members started their annual spring cleanup and planting at spots around town. What’s more, flowering baskets have made a return to Wilton’s downtown shopping district, as a Parks & Recreation crew was spotted hanging a pair of baskets on each of the Wilton Center lampposts.

The baskets have reappeared after a one-year hiatus thanks to a campaign to “Re/Make Wilton Beautiful,” a joint effort between the Garden Club and a committee of volunteers, headed up by Wilton resident Kelly Lash. Lash and other residents were disappointed that there were no flower baskets last year because no one had stepped forward to help fund the effort, one that usually has been paid for by private donation rather than the town.

“I love Wilton and want it to be as beautiful as possible,” Lash told GOOD Morning Wilton in February. “I really missed the hanging baskets last year, so I figured I’d roll up my sleeves and do whatever was necessary to bring them back.”

What was necessary was fundraising approximately $4,000 to make it happen. Lash and Garden Club president Suzanne Knutson collaborated on the effort, and Knutson reports that Wilton gave very generously to the cause.

“We received over 120 donations from individuals and businesses. Although we didn’t solicit donations from local merchants, many contributed quite generously anyway. It’s very heartening to see the sheer number of people who made donations. It demonstrates a widespread desire for beautification across a large swath of the community. This wasn’t a situation where a handful of civic-minded people wrote large checks. People really DO care about the town’s appearance!” she says.

They were able to source and order 110 flower baskets, which filled with are Geranium ‘Decora’ in a stunning combination pink and raspberry shades. The flower baskets will be watered regularly by the Parks Department starting now through the end of the summer.

Hopefully, that generosity will continue, as Knutson says there is definitely a need for more donations, especially because they don’t want to have to scramble to raise funds next year the way they did this year.

“We got off to a late start this year in placing the order because we weren’t sure we’d be able to raise enough money to buy the flowers. By the time it became apparent that we’d have enough money and actually placed the order, we were well into the growing season. As a result, the flowers didn’t have a chance to bloom before they were delivered. We’d like to avoid that situation next year (and the following year), so we’d like to raise as much money as possible now while awareness is still high within the community,” Knutson explains.

She’s very grateful to everyone who has had a hand in making the project successful too.

“Obviously, we’re grateful to everyone in the community who made a donation, and we need to thank them. I’d like to mention the crew at the Parks and Recreation Department who hung the baskets today and who will water them over the summer. We need to thank the Chamber of Commerce for both its financial support and the support they garnered within the business community. Also, Kelly Lash was instrumental in getting the word out within the school community. And our wonderful garden club members were very strong supporters and contributors from day one,” she says, adding that acknowledgements will be going out to everyone who made a donation.

For anyone who wants to add to the donations can do so by credit card, by visiting the “Making Wilton Beautiful!” page on the Wilton Garden Club website. Donations can also be made by check, payable to “Wilton Garden Club” and mailed to:  Wilton Garden Club, P.O. Box 121, Wilton, CT  06897.  All donations are tax-deductible and will be acknowledged.

As for the other Garden Club’s efforts on Monday, members worked in various spots around town planting annuals and adding a bit of cheer. They began at the Memorial Garden at Old Ridgefield Rd. and Center St., in advance of Wilton’s observance of Memorial Day. Members then fanned out around town, working at the Wilton Post Office, Merwin Meadows, Horseshoe Pond, the pocket park near Schenck’s Island (across from Wilton River Park Shopping Center), and Old Town Hall.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.