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Smell the roses and see the yard art

Elkins gardeners really get going in June, and this year walkers will see some interesting new things in local lawns and gardens. Taking a walk with friends makes social distancing easier.

This is a time to try new traditions. The Emma Scott Garden Club was planning to hold a June Rose Lunch at Kump Education Center until the Coronavirus changed all possibilities for summer 2020. At KEC we were really looking forward to June because we wanted to host the Garden Club and thank the members for all the magical work they did on the Christmas Open House at KEC last December.

We planned to put roses in some of the traditional flower beds that had been torn up to rehab utilities in the process of renovating the historic Kump house. When we found out that the Garden Club would not be able to hold their annual Rose Lunch at KEC, we decided to plant roses out front and invite everyone who loves gardens to visit the Kump gardens this summer.

Garden Club member and Master Garden leader, Katy McClane has been working to improve the little rose garden that Miss Kump once kept near the back steps. This garden has benefited greatly from Katy’s loving care. Now the roses there look much better than they have in many years. She has also added tulips, irises, rosemary, and chamomile making the back porch area look great. The new City Tree Nursery is replacing the tired Community Garden between Kump house and barn.

As for our new rose gardens, Katy recommended Reba Mills who is a member of Master Gardens and loves roses dearly. She has put in several roses at the First Baptist Church, and she has worked with the extensive rose display in Huntington. Reba saw our six rose bushes that I bought at Mary’s Greenhouse, and she said they looked like good plants, but we needed more. In Huntington there are 4,000 rose bushes, and they study the viability of the plants in an extensive display.

Reba and I have agreed to start small this year and add more roses in the years to come. She dreams of thousands of plants for our rose research center, but this year we are starting to learn what our construction-site soil will need to support the six roses we have on hand.

We ask the public to practice social distancing when stopping in to see the roses at historic Kump house. To enhance the experience for visitors at KEC this summer, we have also set out some small lawn statuary that Miss Kump collected during her travels when she was teaching in military dependent schools in Europe.

This summer the Division of Natural Resources is sponsoring yard art in Elkins. Animal shapes are cut out of white plywood and painted by local children. The Boundary Avenue butterfly leads into the neighborhood. On Elm Street look for a patchwork skunk, a porcelain rabbit, an indigo bunting, an eager beaver, a black bat and a school of fish. Animals may be in other parts of town.

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