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Irwin Garden Club takes on park project

Sandy Busch Cup, Phyllis Lewis, Bonnie McConnell, Diane Kowalski, Peggy O'Neal, Bette Rodibaugh and Warren Gardner of the Irwin Garden Club pose near a sign in Irwin Park.

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By Amanda Dolasinski
Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

A handful of members of the Irwin Garden Club transformed a grassy patch near the Irwin Park entrance into a vibrant, eye-catching display.

“It's turning out so beautiful,” Diane Kowalski, club president, said. “When you first plant everything, it's small. Now things are getting bigger.”

The 70-member club, which already is tasked with weeding the butterfly garden near the Norwin Public Library, as well as several islands around the borough, was looking for a different project. Kowalski said she was thrilled when council asked the club to spruce up the park.

At first, the area was nothing more than a wooden sign in a plot of grass.

Kowalski said the group wanted to choose plants that could handle the sun's constant rays and would be easy to maintain. They picked out roses and perennials; a local greenhouse donated a boulder.

Ryan Hickey, the son of one of the members, brought in a bulldozer to tear up the group for the group. After the group cleared away coal, Kowalski said, members spread topsoil and went to work.

“We wanted plants and bushes and shrubs that would take full sun because that area gets sun all day,” she said. “It's something that we do maintain, but I didn't want something that would be invasive and take over.”

As the group worked digging up dirt and spreading mulch, Kowalski said, several people stopped to admire the progress. One man, who said he was a Lions' Club member, even wrote out a check to pay for the mulch.

“It was really rewarding doing because people going by would be so thankful,” she said.

The group raised money for the project through a plant sale but also counted on donations from local businesses.

“So many people contributed without hesitation,” Kowalski said. “It just gave us a great feeling to know that they do care about their community.”

Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626.

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