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From Strength to Strength

pardon service
by lisby1

Article by David Bunch

The development of the now famous Berkshire Garden Center continued at great pace, year on year. Endowments and reserve fund amounted to ,000 in addition to the real estate. Not a princely endowment, but a substantial backlog. Vegetable gardening came into the program in 1941 as war clouds began to darken the horizon. A demonstration home vegetable garden was planned in cooperation with Prof. William R. Cole of Massachusetts State College. A plot 30 by 100 feet was planted, the idea being to supply a family of three with fresh vegetables and a surplus for canning and winter storage. As crops ripened. Miss Evelyn Streeter, home extension agent, conducted canning classes demonstrating proper methods of preserving. A monthly club bulletin, ‘Cuttings’, was also started in 1941.

Victory gardening came into full bloom in 1942. A two-day course was held in April, aided by Professor Cole and Miss Anne Webb, assistant to Director Simpson, who had taken a winter course in victory gardening at Lowthorpe School in Boston. A ten weeks course in nutrition and a new series of canning lessons also brought a large attendance. Another food garden was planted, also a garden of small fruits, and a “Youth Garden” cared for by one of the small boys, under the supervision of the 4-H Club Berkshire Garden Center, really went “all out ” for home production and preservation during the war years, ably assisted by the county and state extension services. The membership reached 618 and interest was keen, in spite of the curtailment of the lecture program because of gasoline rationing.

The Harvest Show was continued, and ‘Society’ magazine, in 1942, awarded its gold medal to the Center, further proof, if needed, that the young garden center had arrived. Victory Gardening was continued with vigor and enthusiasm in 1943 and 1944. A new feature was a demonstration storeroom. Meanwhile flowers, while somewhat subordinated, had not been neglected, and the development of the “master plan” for the grounds included a rock garden, perennial borders, potted plants on the terrace, and a collection of clematis. With the war’s end, interest swung back towards gardening for beauty. The 1945 program included such features as dwarf apple trees, small fruits, grape vines and blueberries, ground covers, a terraced herb garden, a sun-heated pit, herb display room, a compost pile and pit, and a named display of peonies. War needs were not neglected, however, and there was a lecture and demonstration on “Canning in Tins for Shipment to the Armed Forces.”

Having, in a brief dozen years, proved itself to be such a worthwhile garden service institution, the Berkshire Garden Center may be pardoned if it is rather proud of its record. Dirt gardeners of all classes should welcome the opportunity to belong to and enjoy the benefits of such an organization.

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