The Scituate Roundabout – over the years you may have seen members of our Green Team weeding, planting, mulching and watering. We just wanted to say thank you back for all the shouts outs, thank you’s and honks. We see you ……and hear you!
We also appreciate the shouts outs on social media and in the garden center about how well the roundabout plantings look. It has been a long journey to get the plantings to where they look today. See the story below. Like all gardens it is a work in progress. The garden peaks around late May and early June as the Dianthus and Snow-in-Summer start to fade and the Catmint, Blue Star and False Indigo take over As they pass peak, the white coneflower become the star of the show. Each spring we plant annuals flowers that hopefully, if we are allowed to water them will flower and continue to look good until fall. By end of summer the Little Lime Hydrangeas should start the bloom then the Blue Star turns a brilliant yellow when the cold starts to set in. Because of the volume of questions we get about what is planted, we decide to create this page with the info about the roundabout and the plants that now thrive there. This may save us form answering a few of the commonly asked questions, but we are always willing to help answer questions about plants and design and how what you might see driving around and how it relates to your garden.
The back story……
It has been a long road around the roundabout from where it started. The state changed it from an awkward mutli-direction intersection to what used to call a rotary in Massachusetts. Inside the circle the construction crews left a huge round patch of grass with a lot of tall weeds that did not get mowed often enough for anyone’s liking by Mass Highway at the time. I knew as soon as it was built it would need a garden in the middle. I reached out to the town and then the state and started the process of adopting the space. I was quickly corrected by officials that we were dealing with a roundabout not a rotary for whatever that was worth.
I came up with a plan, but we still needed to jump a series of hoops and to finally receive approval. That was just the beginning of the “fun” we had. I knew the soil would not be great, but there was were grass and weeds growing there so I figured something would grow. Whoever the person in charge of grading was very good and likely passionate about getting the grade perfect so the rain water would flow away from the center of the circle as designed. He did such a good hob that he ran his machine over it what I figure to be hundreds of times! He compacted the soil down so firm that it was hard a a rock. I’m sure the intention was to not make it unhabitual for plants ……..but if that was the goal he would received an A+!!!
The first thing we did was donate 75 yards of compost to island. I asked Scott Herzog and Herzog Landscaping to donate his time, trucks and machinery to remove the weeds & grass and install the compost. Kennedy’s then brought in the plants. 6,000 square feet of space requires a lot of plants!! But we trucked them in. It took picks and shovels to break through the crust of “soil” that there. We managed to painfully plant hundreds of perennials and grasses. Because of soil and water issues, there was some trial and error. Not all plants survived and many took years to finally “root in”.
Then it was time for flowers. The first year we planted annuals, we enlisted the volunteers from the Scituate Beautification Committee lead as well as then State Rep Jim Cantwell and a few other to help as add colorful annuals. The problem was the volunteers showed up with hand trowels to dig the holes for these little plants. But the soil laughed at them. It was simply too hard to dig even these small holes despite the 75 yards of compost we trucked in. We had to go around with picks and chisel holes so they could plant the annuals.
Because of our soil issues, it took years for the plants to finally root in and do well. Plants we were sure that would thrive such as Sedum did very poorly and needed to be replaced. Then we came up against water issues. The town let us hook up hoses at the water department. We soon learned dragging 300 feet of hose across the busy roundabout was less than ideal. A lot of burst & broken hoses and bad backs from dragging hoses later we requested our own water source. We were told they would install the next time the roundabout was to be paved. We waited threes years and finally got our own spigot to water the plants. Of course then we have had to endure many summers of water restrictions and dead plants resulting from our inability to water. We had had 2 major droughts that have cost us thousands of dollars in plants over the years. Plus the weeds that grow out there were very tough, some over took some of the groundcover and catmint to the point those needed replacing as well.
So what you see today was not how it all started. Every year since the beginning we have donated countless plants and hours planting, weeding, mulching, watering and caring for the garden. We don’t get paid to do it. We do this for the town of Scituate and all the people that pass by it as a way to give back. We don’t expect anything in return. We hope people see it and it brings them joy and inspiration. Local residents have lots of choices of where to buy your plants. Of course we hope if all other things are equal, we hope you consider Kennedy’s your go-to place for all things gardening.
Chris Kennedy, MCH is a Landscape Designer and 3rd generation owner of Kennedy’s.
Click on images to learn more about individual plants.
TREES & SHRUBS
Potato Vine – Available in many varieties
Salvia – Available in many varieties
Sunpatiens – Available in many varieties
Euphorbia – Diamond Frost
Scaevola – Starlight