Natick Garden Club
Have you noticed the beautiful flowers all over Natick Center, including the planters on the pedestrian bridge over the train tracks? These colorful outdoor planters, as well as the pollinator garden in front of Morse library and the library’s indoor plants, are the result of the hard work of the Natick Garden Club.
The Natick Garden Club is responsible for planting a total of 41 containers year-round. Club members come up with the designs and, in partnership with the Natick Center Cultural District, purchase the plants from Bacon Street Farm and Fran’s Flowers.
The club is a group of enthusiastic gardeners who are passionate about beautifying our community and sharing their love of plants. It was organized about 20 years ago and has approximately 80 members (the group is very open to new members).
The club meets monthly September through May to learn from each other and from guest speakers. Meetings are held in the evenings, to include members who work. A former President of the Natick Garden Club and one of its founding members, Elizabeth Carroll, describes the group as not your traditional “white-gloves Garden Club”, but a very hands-on group for all gardeners.
A highlight of the Club’s year is the annual auction fundraiser, during which it auctions off flower plants and vegetable seedlings from members’ own gardens. Proceeds from the auction fund various civic projects, including a scholarship for graduating seniors from Natick High School. The club also participates in Earth Day and Natick Days.
Summer activities include end-of-the year party, a trip to a u-pick tulip field in Rhode Island, and informal meetings in each other's gardens.
One of the perks of club membership is getting advice from fellow gardeners. For this blog story, I’ve asked Elizabeth Carroll to answer some questions from the Natick Moms’ Facebook group and she graciously agreed.
Q: How can I leave water out for butterflies and birds without attracting mosquitoes?
A: If you change the water every few days it will prevent the larvae from developing. You can dump the old water into your garden and water your plants.
Q: Is there a way to get rid of lily of the valley without digging them up individually?
A: One idea is in the early Spring cover it with layers of newspaper and then mulch over it. Leave it for a year. Next Spring dig up the old roots. It’s worth a try!
Q: How to prune lilacs so the blossoms aren’t all the way at the top of the tall bush.
A: Lilacs like sun so make sure your lilacs are getting 6 hours of sun a day. Prune after they bloom in the spring, no later than that.
Q: My garden is being decimated by bunnies...other than fencing how to keep them from eating my flowers? I sometimes put red pepper around plants but it’s not foolproof.
A: There are various spray repellents on the market. You need to reapply otherwise they will start eating again.
Q:We planted three hydrangeas and they are looking really sad. Any way to bring them back to life?
Q:Why won’t my hydrangea bloom? Hasn’t since I moved in 7 years ago.
One of the biggest causes of hydrangeas not blooming is aggressive pruning. Wait until late Spring when you can see what is dead wood and only prune the dead wood. Unfortunately if we get very cold temperatures in the winter and early Spring that can destroy the forming buds also.
South Natick Dam Park
You could not find a more peaceful picnic spot than this lovely park in South Natick. Buy a sandwich from Charles River Coffee House or Lola's across the street and walk over to this former grist mill to enjoy shade and serenity.
The park adjacent to the Charles River’s dam was established in 1933. It is a wonderful to observe the life of the river and spot herons, geese and other birds in their habitat.
The sound of the waterfall blocks all other noises, transporting you to the Natick of colonial times depicted in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “OldTown Folks” (did you know that Oldtown is a fictional name for Natick, in which Stowe's novel is set?).
4th of July Parade
Natick celebrates Independence Day with a patriotic parade - a beloved tradition that has delighted residents for over 60 years. The parade route begins at the Wilson Middle School and ends just after St. Patrick's Church in Natick Center. Spectators line up all along Route 27, some putting chairs out the night before to "claim" their sport.
My family starts the day with a pancake breakfast at the First Congregational Church, which is just across the street from the parade main stage. This is also a Natick tradition organized by the Kiwanis Club every year. The breakfast is a fundraiser for the Natick community.
Peter O’Malley, who has been performing at the parade for almost two decades, roller-skates across Main Street, inviting kids sing and to come out onto the street to play goofy games.
The parade begins with the winner of Natick's Voice, a youth singing competition, performing the national anthem. Then come the floats, i.e., decorated bikes and wagons from the Kid's Parade, followed by Natick Runners. Next, antique automobiles come roaring down the street, much to everyone's delight. Finally, fire trucks from Natick and neighboring towns pass through the town, blasting their sirens - an experience both terrifying and mesmerizing for my family. We have learned that sound-canceling headphones much enhance the experience.
Natick's 4th of July parade is a favorite family tradition in the summer. Love the parade? Comment below to tell us why.
If Natick wasn't already awesome in the summer, Natick Nights make it a staycation capital of the world. Every year in June and July the downtown transforms into a community soirée on Thursday nights. Local businesses, the artist community, and the residents come outside to celebrate everything this town has to offer.
Rain or shine, Natick Nights feature performances by local musicians, gallery openings, beer and wine tastings, restaurant specials, activities for kids, you name it. To make it even more awesome, each week there is a different theme: Kids Night, Vintage Night, Murder a Merchant Mystery Night, The Voice Competition, Ladies Night, Healing Arts Night, The Downtown Brewfest, The ArtWalk, Christmas in July... This amazing line up is the result of the hard work of the Natick Center Cultural District.
Check out this line up: craft tables for kids all over the downtown area, free gemstones for every kid under 10, free family photos, music instruments and family sing, dancing, obstacle courses, parachute, trampolines, math activities, a ninja star games, aromatherapy for kids, dress-up, face painting, and my daughter's favorite: a kids rave party (where kids glow in the dark!).