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Unique accessible sensory garden ready for festival

By Staff | Aug 10, 2016

BARB BARRETT/The Luminary Christina Dorward a Master Gardener from Muncy stands on top of the human mosaic sundial that can be seen in the county's new sensory garden that was completed in late spring. The mosaic was designed and created by Linda Betts, also a Master Gardener.

WILLIAMSPORT – Earlier this summer season, a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house took place at Lycoming County’s newly formed Sensory Garden. A hard working team of master gardeners worked on the project for many many months after it began as a vision with Muncy resident, Christina Dorward. “The project took two and one half years in the making,” she said. “It was constantly growing and changing,” Dorward said.

Carol Loveland, who worked with her said that “it has grown into a dream come true.”

The Sensory Garden was introduced by Representative and former county commissioner, Jeff Wheeland. It incorporates all the senses according to Loveland who said, “This Sensory Garden is a rich explorative for all ages.”

Dorward replied, “We could not do this alone. This mentoring concept was embraced by the county commissioners to obtain initial funds for the project. This fertile ground was turned into a bigger than life project.”

The living space inspires the senses with comfortable bench seating, a moving waterfall, a meditation area, a human sundial and many gardens to enjoy.

Master Gardener Linda Betts has been a strong advocate as well and designed the mosaic that became a human sundial consisting of sparkling bright colors and small squares between 1/4 to 3/4 inches. Several volunteers assisted Doward and Betts with the mosaic to get it completed in time for the open house.

The project itself started last May. Trenches were dug before the electrical work was installed. Both PennDot and the County’s Pre-Release Center helped with labor which had to be worked around the weather. The sun dial needed to be framed and raised beds installed for the four garden areas: The Pollinator Garden, the Meditation Garden, the Vegetable Garden and the Kid’s Corner. Penn College students also helped according to Loveland. They poured concrete and built the pergola.

Many donations also came from the community and the Lycoming County maintenance department also assisted with construction. “It was a team effort. We quadrupled the value of it from the goods and services of the donors,” explained Loveland.

“This is the only working farm in Lycoming County,” said Wheeland during his introductory speech. “Look what we can do with it! I think it’s great!” He explained how the Sensory Garden can show younger generations where our food comes from starting with the county’s Learning Trail that sits adjacent to the Sensory Garden.

“There’s always something new to see,” he added. “A living thing is so exciting for our youth to be exposed to this.”

There is no doubt that this garden is something special, a first in the region, and a live interaction with nature to see, smell, touch, play and explore.

To view more of the Lycoming County gardens, come this Saturday to the Lysock View Complex and experience the annual Master Gardeners’ “Garden Fest.” From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m, learn how rain gardens work, how to improve garden soil, how to grow berries, and even enjoy a re-enactment of the Soldiers Garden at Fort Augusta in the 1750s. There will also be an opportunity “to ask the expert” to get assistance in identifying and diagnosing problem areas in your garden.