Poland Village Hall's parking lot had a lot of activity on May 23 as members of the Poland Village Gardeners were doing what they do best. They weeded, pruned, trimmed, and planted to prepare the gardens for Memorial Day and the summer of 2012.
The Poland Village Gardeners Inc. was formed in 1943 as a group of citizens who wanted to ensure the beauty of Poland and the historic character. Among the areas the nonprofit organization maintains is the Centennial Gardens at Poland Village Hall.
The structure that is now Village Hall is a historic Greek Revival home built in 1845. In 1923, Judge James B. Kennedy created a formal garden adjacent to the home. That garden became village property in 1960 when the home became Poland Village's Town Hall.
According to Poland Village Gardener President Cathryn Jacobs, the garden area was restored in 1966 in order to celebrate Poland's Centennial.
"It was built by community members from the village and the township," Jacobs said. "Everyone worked together to build it."
She said it was beautiful when it was done for the centennial, but in the coming years after the celebration, it was neglected and became overgrown with weeds.
"In 2006, the garden club launched a campaign to again restore, but this time maintain the garden," said member Ginny Meloy.
Two big fundraisers were initiated to help provide funds for purchasing plants and garden supplies for the project. The first is the historic plaques. Any Poland home or structure that was 100 years old or older was eligible for a historic plaque. The club would have the plaque mounted on the house and asked for a donation of $40. Proceeds from the plaques went into the gardens.
The second fundraiser was to sell bricks for a memorial section of the gardens. A pergola was built in the center of the gardens and the floor of the structure is made of brick. The bricks are engraved to honor and memorialize friends, loved ones, and family. The garden club sold the bricks for $100 and placed then in the floor. Combined with the historic plaques, the fundraisers gave the club a working budget to help renovate and maintain the gardens. Both programs continue and anyone wishing to participate can get more information at Village Hall or by calling 330-757-3721.
In 2007, the restoration project was finished and the gardens once again became a treasure for Poland residents to enjoy.
"We did it with a lot of community support," said Meloy. "It is Poland's garden."
The club continues to maintain the garden and every spring, just before Memorial Day, members flock to the gardens to pull weeds, prune bushes and plant flowers that will bloom throughout the summer. The club, according to Jacobs, is committed to insuring the Centennial Garden never gets neglected again.