When Patty Meehan moved in 2015 from Michigan to Hillsborough, she was quickly introduced to one of the most frustrating challenges of gardening in her new state: Red clay.
“I’m used to good soil,” Meehan said, recalling when she first began working on the gardens at the Passmore Center in Hillsborough. “I’m not used to red clay. I said ‘I cannot plant in it. There’s no way I can plant in that.’ So, they got rid of a lot of it and brought in some compost. And then we planted and then they mulched.”
Meehan is a former master gardener who first learned of the Passmore Center when she was new to the area and looking to meet people. She sought out a support group for people diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, and met with someone from the group, who showed her around the Orange County Sportsplex and the Passmore Center. The senior center was undergoing an expansion and the garden area near the entrance would also be new. She offered to do the work to make it something special.
Meehan confesses she’s no designer, but she was able to sketch a plan that was approved. The garden is now full of healthy colors and established plants. There are even garden features that will stop and make you think — and smile. What’s most satisfying to Meehan, though, is that people stop to enjoy it.
“What gets me is seeing these people, these seniors walk through and they’ll stop,” Meehan said. “It’s whimsical. You have to look at it. They’ll look at it. I always have something new and you see them looking intently and finding what’s new. This June we’re going to have a scavenger hunt.”
On May 7, The Passmore Center in Orange County will be holding an Artisan Market and Plant Sale from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Passmore Center at 103 Meadowlands Drive in Hillsborough, in the parking lot of the Orange County Sportsplex. The sale is put on by the Friends of the Passmore Board.
Attendees of the sale can shop for a plant to give for Mother’s Day, or to add to their own garden or home. A group of vendors will be on hand selling handmade items. And, while there, folks can take a look at the garden designed by Meehan. The money raised from the sale goes to the group The Friends of Jerry Passmore.
Gardening experts will also be at the plant sale to answer questions of beginning gardeners, or for people who may be experiencing challenges with a plant or garden.