In November 2009, the Rowayton Gardeners contacted the city of Norwalk regarding the Rowayton School Pond area next to the ball field. Invasive vines and plants were destroying desirable trees and shrubs. The Gardeners applied for and received grants from the 6th Taxing District (Rowayton) and the Rowayton Civic Association to begin the project. In February 2010, the Norwalk Parks Department began the initial clearing of strangling vines, thorny thickets and poison ivy. The cleanup was essential for the introduction and future preservation of desirable plants, shrubs and trees. In the spring of 2010, the Gardeners and community volunteers began planting native shrubs, trees and flowers. In fall 2011, cleanup of the Roton Street side of the pond began along with the planting of over 1,000 spring bulbs. In September 2012, the project continued with the wooded area below the pond being cleared of debris and fallen trees by Norwalk Parks Department, Rowayton Gardeners, and neighbors. Flower boxes at the entrance of the walking path are planted seasonally by the Gardeners. Much has been done to turn this park into a pleasant spot for all to enjoy including installation of park benches and bird houses, but work continues to maintain all that we have done and accomplish all we have yet to do.
In October 2012, the Federated Garden Club of Connecticut recognized this Rowayton Gardeners’ project to renovate the pond area by awarding the group its Lee Bauerfeld Award — a Traveling Silver Cup awarded to a club or individual for an outstanding civic project in the community. The project, which was largely completed 2009 – 2011, included hand-pulling invasive plants and planting new shrubs, bulbs, and a garden of native plants. Two benches were also erected at the charming site. The Rowayton School Pond project is ongoing. The Gardeners wish to thank the city of Norwalk, 6th Taxing District, and the community for their support in this work.
Summer 2013 cleanup reveals the maturation of plantings and the enhanced experience for all who walk the Rowayton School Pond path. Milkweed was discovered along the way – an example of the native species that now can thrive in the area cleared of invasives.