ROSELLE — For Elaine Tito, the wait is over.
Every spring, Tito looks forward to seeing the new plantings at the Henry S. Chatfield Memorial Garden in Union County’s Warinanco Park.
So with parks crews just finishing up, Tito and her son, Avram were among the first to visit the nearly 90-year-old garden.
“We’ve been waiting,” said Tito, an Elizabeth resident. “It’s always a wonderful pleasure to see what they do. The park is a second home to us.”
Tito said she had many fond memories of bringing her two sons to go fishing and boating on the lake at Warinanco.
Though most of 204-acre county park is devoted to grass and trees, the Chatfield Garden is near The Mall, a long stand of towering oak trees through the center of the park.
The octagon-shaped garden, which is bounded by yews and short sections of white picket fence, has been part of the park since it was created in 1923.
Designed by the renowned Olmsted Brothers landscape architectural firm, which designed the Union County Park system, the garden was named after the park commission’s first president.
While it began as a tulip garden, with 14,200 bulbs imported from Holland planted annually, the garden is now a display case for a variety of annual flowering plants, whose blooms tend to last through the summer, rather than the tulips, which had a much shorter life span.
“Even during this recent stretch of excruciatingly hot days, you will still find folks seeking the cool of the shade in Warinanco,” said Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella.
“To be able to take a moment ‘to smell the flowers,’ as they say, or take in the simple grandeur of The Mall, the parks just add to the quality of everyone’s lives,” Mirabella said.
In this time of increasing staff cutbacks, where the county recently laid off upwards of nearly 300 employees, the parks department is looking for volunteers who might be interested in weeding and grooming the Chatfield Garden, similar to the way the Shakespeare Gardens are cared for in Cedar Brook Park in Plainfield.
Anyone interested in volunteering, whether it be watering, weeding, or just general maintenance, should call: 1-908-358-3705.
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