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Ingomar Garden Club's park-maintenance efforts earn honor

| Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, 5:45 p.m.
The Pennsylvania Horticulture Society is honoring the Ingomar Garden Club with its 2013 Community Greening Maintenance Award for the club’s ongoing efforts at David E. Councill Memorial Park, located at the intersection of West Ingomar, Highland, and Ingomar Heights Roads in McCandless.

The Pennsylvania Horticulture Society is honoring the Ingomar Garden Club with its 2013 Community Greening Maintenance Award for the club's ongoing efforts at David E. Councill Memorial Park.

“The award celebrates individuals, garden clubs, community organizations, and businesses which have been inspired to improve their community by greening public spaces,” said Flossie Narducci, events manager for the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society in Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania's first lady, Susan Corbett, will present the award — a plaque — during a reception Dec. 10 at the Governor's Residence in Harrisburg.

David E. Councill Memorial Park — at the intersection of West Ingomar, Highland and Ingomar Heights Roads in McCandless — honors the Ingomar area's first soldier killed in World War II.

A member of the Army Air Corps, Capt. David Councill was flying a four-engine B-24 heavy bomber 1,500 miles from Dakar, Senegal, to Casablanca, Morocco, on Dec. 8, 1943. Within 125 miles of its destination, it crashed into a mountainside.

The plane disintegrated upon impact. Councill was 23 years old.

In 1954, a local family — the Bells — donated about 1.3 acres to McCandless, with instructions to use it for a park in Councill's memory. Councill was their son's best friend.

The Ingomar Garden Club has physically and financially maintained the park for the last 58 years.

“Our budget for the park is $1,500 a year,” said Jackie Nichols of Gibsonia, who has been a member of the Ingomar Garden Club for two decades. “That covers costs for buying flowers, mushroom manure and chocolate mulch,” she explained.

“It also pays for trimming trees and fertilizing the grass.”

McCandless provides mowing service. Members of the garden club donate their time, energy and equipment to prepare the grounds in the spring, plant the flowers, weed, water and winterize in the fall.

“This year, we planted cannas, dahlias, dusty miller, giant marigolds, coneflowers, Stella de Oros and azaleas,” Nichols said.

“There was lots of color, and the perennials were lovely.”

This past summer, landscape-design critics, expert gardeners and judges accredited by the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania evaluated sites throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware for the award. Winners were based on plant variety, design, use of space and horticultural practices.

The judge who assessed the David E. Councill Park noted on his evaluation, “The planted areas, especially the cannas and dahlias, provide visual candy to cars passing by. The space enhances the busy intersection, enabling passengers and drivers in vehicles to enjoy a visual resting place while backed up at the stop sign, as well as beautifying the neighborhood.”

The Ingomar Garden Club won the PHS' Community Greening Award in 2010 for its work at the park, which made it eligible to be considered later for the Community Greening Maintenance Award.

“We're proud to receive this award because we work so hard at the park,” Nichols said. “It is a real asset to the community.”

Laurie Rees is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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