Arts & Leisure

Middlebury Garden Club announces roadside winners

THE MEGYESI GARDEN has been a labor of love since the couple purchased the house in 1964.

It’s been a different year. In a time of little interaction with others, gardens have provided beauty for both Vermont families and visitors from out of state. Judges of the Middlebury Garden Club’s Best of Gardens as viewed from the roadside have struggled with selecting the clear winners. 

Beverly and Louis Megyesi, 4 Lower Plains Road
For the residential awards, two gardens stand out. A garden in East Middlebury reveals hard work, high standards and constant commitment for improvement.
Beverly and Louis Megyesi moved to their home at 4 Lower Plains Road in 1964. The property was bare of plantings and looked directly at the dusty road. The road was improved, but raised two feet above their front yard. The Megyesis then built a two foot stone wall. 
The gardens have expanded gradually. Focus initially was on annuals, but many perennials now dominate. The gardens include dahlias, day lilies, cosmos, new guinea impatience Christmas poinsettias, coleus, zebra ferns, phlox, primroses, tiger lilies, milk weed, Shasta daisies, purple asters, rudbeckia, snap dragons and marigolds for borders. 
Across the seasons, the Megyesis appreciate seeing the garden grow and change in color. The rich variety draws birds and butterflies to the property … and lastly, happily the couple finds weeding relaxing. It’s no wonder their gardens are stunning!

Kevin and Garreth Parizo, 57 Seymour Street
Kevin and Garreth Parizo at 57 Seymour Street, Middlebury, also deserve recognition. The simplicity of their home’s landscaping multiplies its visual impact.
Both Garreth and her husband, Kevin, grew up in Middlebury. Until this year Garreth planted geraniums in the window boxes. The fuchsia and white Wave Petunias this year were a spur of the moment decision when the geraniums in the greenhouses didn’t appear to be up to par. Kevin assists by mixing the soil for all the boxes. Also, in the front of the house are small and medium marigolds, Black-eyed Susans and small day lilies. In addition, the Parizos maintain four gardens in the backyard — two vegetable and two mixed with vegetables and flowers.
Garreth has been gardening since she was a child, enjoying the activity with both her parents and grandparents. She finds it relaxing and enjoys working with her hands in the dirt and seeing the fruits of her labor. This year, with COVID-19, she has seen an increase in the number of people walking “the loop” which passes her house. She is pleased that she’s been able to share some beauty and happiness, as well as photo opportunities. Kevin and Garreth enjoy being outside and feel that gardening is an activity that can be maintained as one ages.

Marbleworks Rain Garden
The rain garden at the Marbleworks stands out as the winner of the business award. It is located on the private property of the Marbleworks adjacent to the Otter Creek. 
An earlier design fell short of its goal to protect the environment and therefore needed to be replaced: a large amount of water run-off from the south parking lot was not being captured in the first rain garden and was going directly into Otter Creek. 
The second rain garden was created and designed by the Marble Works Partnership and Smith and McClain of Bristol in 2015 with the help of Lauren Slayton.
The garden is maintained each year by Slayton. All of the plants and flowers were carefully selected based on their ability to survive under water. 
Spanning the rain garden is one of Town Hall Theater’s Bridges 20/20 project. Bridge-ette highlights Middlebury’s unique natural features and town buildings. Its ribbed framework is marked by openings and permits views of iconic Middlebury landmarks. To accentuate the relationship between people and place, it also provides a passage for both humans and light. The project was created by Vermont Integrated Architecture and Nop’s Metalworks.

Middlebury Circle
The historic monument at the top of Court Street honors Middlebury residents who served in the Civil War on one side and on the other side, Middlebury veterans from the Revolutionary War, the Spanish American War and World War I.
At first, trees surrounded the monument. But in 2019 Lily P. Snow of Middlebury’s Parks and Recreation Department prepped the garden beds and planted annuals. Stepping-stones and a side walk were added by the Public Works Department. To honor the veterans in 2020, Kori Crane, also of Middlebury’s Parks and recreation Department, selected a red, white and blue theme: dahlias for the red, Euphorbia “glitz” and Gaura “white” for the white and Nemesia “Bluebird” and pansies for the blue layer. Boxwoods complete the design. In true community spirit, the boxwoods were transplanted from St. Stephens Church. Each spring, new plants will be added — a treat to anticipate for this shire town.

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