Rain brought a garden tea party inside the Ogdensburg Public Library, 312 Washington St., Tuesday, but it did not stop the Ogdensburg Garden Club from stopping and smelling the roses.
In the second floor of the library, Garden Club members dressed in their Sunday best and served tea to one another while guest speaker Mary “Louise” Markert led a discussion about roses.
The garden where the event was originally planned to be held is named in honor of Ms. Markert’s parents, Irma and Norbert.
“Irma was responsible for the plans and initial planting of several gardens and the shrub border around the library,” said Garden Club Vice President Linda “Lin” Griffin. “The Markerts were both very community-minded people and were committed to the beautification of Ogdensburg.”
Since her mother passed away in 2010, Ms. Markert has been maintaining and growing the garden at her family’s home at 102 Proctor Avenue. It’s something, Ms. Markert said, she never imagined doing.
“Before my parents I died, I knew what a tulip was and a rose was but that was it,” Ms. Markert said. “But when they died, I couldn’t let the property go because every plant reminds me of them.”
Ms. Markert became determined to keep the garden going. Although she works full time in North Carolina, she travels to Ogdensburg about four times a month to check on the garden. A gardener maintains the property when she is away. “I am taking three and half weeks to be up here in the garden,” she said. “I love it here. It’s so peaceful. My cousins all live here. This is where I want to retire.”
Of the 160 roses in her backyard, Ms. Markert has identified all but four using a diary that her mother kept.
In the diary and videos that her mother left behind, Ms. Markert said she has learned many tips and secrets on how to keep her garden growing.
“My mother particularly loved roses,” Ms. Markert said. “The one thing about roses is that they take a lot of time. It’s more work than any other plants. They need fertilizer and lots of food.”
Forty-five garden club members plant and care for public gardens in front of the Ogdensburg Public Library, Library Park, Rita Agarwal Memorial Garden, the triangle arterial garden at the entrance to the city and hanging flower baskets in the center of the city.
Their goal since 1923 has been to create a culture of civic beautification by encouraging residents and businesses to take pride in the appearance of their lawns and gardens.
“We appreciate the beauty of the gardens ourselves as well as being able to do it for the community,” Ms. Griffin said. “It really does give you a good feeling when people stop, talk to us and they tell us how wonderful it is. They say it’s so peaceful. It is a way to sit in the quiet and just watch the world.”