BRIDGEWATER, NJ - It was a dream four years in the making to create a garden for all to enjoy and learn from – and following a grand opening ceremony May 17, it was officially a reality.
The Garden Club at the Bridgewater-Raritan High School officially cut the ribbon for the new garden outside the 800 building in a special ceremony that included proclamations from Bridgewater Township Mayor Dan Hayes, as presented by Health and Human Services Director Chris Poulsen, and Robert O’Neill, of the New Jersey Water Supply Authority.
“It feels outstanding,” said garden club president junior Brian Oo, “to see all our hard work done.”
Oo said it is the garden’s club goal to expand it into the curriculum and give the students a chance to have a strong impact on the environment.
Senior Bryan Zhu, a member of the garden club, said there are classes making use of the garden and growing plants, and they are planning to grow some in the shade by the school.
“And we want to do a vine plant around the fences, like strawberry or honeysuckle,” he said. “It is a big thing with a great impact.”
Zhu said there are always classes out at the garden.
“And we have had incredible support from the school,” Oo said. “It is nice to know we have the reinforcement.”
Oo said that by June of the first year the garden club was in existence, four years ago, they already had approval to create the garden.
“We have learned about what a garden can do,” he said.
Eugene Pirog, advisor for the club, said the center garden is done by the special education classes, and was made more than four years ago. But, he said, there was no fence around it, and the plants were not lasting.
When the garden club was created, the first act after getting approval to move forward was to build that fence.
Then, Pirog said, the school’s home improvement classes put together a rain garden.
“We wanted as much of the school involved as possible,” he said.
Benches for an outdoor classroom were also built by the home improvement classes, and rain barrels were donated.
“We got a Silver River Friendly School Award,” Pirog said.
Now that the garden is officially open, Pirog said, they can have more lessons there, hook up the rain barrels and do more planting.
In addition, Pirog said, they are hoping to grow vegetables that can be used in the cafeteria. He said they have already grown tomatoes and basil that was used for pizza.
The current 15 members of the garden club welcomed guests to the garden during the grand opening by explaining all about the different sections, and they are looking forward to what is to come.
“We are just ecstatic,” Oo said.