Garden Club Beautifies Bedford

The corner of Concord and Davis Roads, opposite St. Michael's Catholic Church
The corner of Concord and Davis Roads, opposite St. Michael’s Catholic Church

By Dot Bergin

Bedford traffic may be stressful, but there are literally “islands of delight” in some of the most heavily traveled areas in town to soothe the harassed driver. For years, members of the Bedford Garden Club have planted and maintained gardens in traffic islands and at street corners as well as at the Library, Old Town Hall and Job Lane House. All told, there are 19 areas that are designed, planted, fertilized, weeded, mulched and watered in an effort involving more than 60 Garden Club members and several non-members.

This season the flowers seem more spectacular than ever (but then, this writer says that every year). Outstanding is the island (the largest of the garden areas) at the intersection of Page and Old Billerica roads, with its stunning centerpiece of pink Knock Out® roses, bordered by colorful annuals. The corner garden at Davis and Concord roads, opposite St. Michael’s church, is another eye-catcher, as seen in the photo. But each garden has its particular charm: Take a look at the 4-way stop at the Springs Road/Pine Hill corners, where the autumnal sedums are just coming into their own lavender splendor.

A project as extensive as this needs a full time leader and that person is Janice (Jan) Burnes, chair of the Garden Club’s Civic projects. For the past 24 years, Jan has been involved in the design, ordering of flowers, and coordination of the 17 teams that maintain the gardens. Each area has its own coordinator and team members, who do the “boots on the ground” work of planting, weeding and watering. On many summer days you can see these dedicated volunteers tending their plots. Some of the plots have spigots, which make watering easier, but in one instance, the caretaker, Cheryl Miksenas, actually totes 15 gallon cans of water to her Dunster/Page Road plot.

As Jan explained, she spends the winter months studying catalogs and mulling ideas for improving the gardens, with an eye to easier maintenance. As new varieties of plants come along, these are inserted into the mix, such as begonias that don’t need deadheading. Jan is working toward a greater use of perennials, with annuals added for color. She praised recently-retired DPW Director Rich Warrington for his long-time support of the garden projects, including providing modest funding from the Town budget to purchase plants.

If you have a favorite Garden Club site, tell the Citizen! Can you identify all 19? (Hint: Don’t forget the old watering trough on the Great Road, long a town fixture.) Click here to see Leslie Wittman’s 2012 photographs of the sites.

President Joan Freni invites any interested resident to join the Garden Club. Membership fee is $25 per year. To learn more, visit the Garden Club’s website,

Keep our journalism strong! Support The Citizen Journalism Fund today. Contact The Bedford Citizen: or 781-325-8606

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