Scouts reviving historic Marriage Garden

       An Eagle Scout project to improve the historic Kathleen Marriage Garden is under way.

Eagle Scout candidate Michael Berge (far right), joins assisting Scouts and City Parks workers to load bags of growth pulled out of the Kathleen Marriage Garden into the back of a city pickup. The garden can be seen in the background, just north of the parking lot.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Located just north of the Beidleman Center parking lot in Sondermann Park, it had become overgrown with invasive weeds in recent years, according to Eagle candidate Michael Berge of Troop 501.
       He and fellow Scouts had their first volunteer workday April 21, with about 60 Scouts on hand. A smaller group came back April 24, and more workdays will be scheduled in the next few weeks, with the public welcome to join in. A previously announced workday April 28 had to be cancelled because, ironically, Berge just got hired at a job and will start work there that day.
       The Eagle Scout candidate, a Palmer High School senior, has until his 18th birthday (May 27) to finish the project, which requires him to put in a total of at least 100 service hours.
       The idea is to bring back the low-water, xeriscape style of plantings that Marriage had introduced in 1916 when the garden was part of her Upton Nursery. Other elements of the project include a sun dial, hand-made benches and a handicapped ramp, Berge said.
       He had been looking for an Eagle project when his father (and former Scoutmaster) David Berge suggested Sondermann Park, in the Mesa Springs area off Caramillo Street. Outside of a few trails, the park is mostly in a natural state and didn't seem to need a major project, Michael said, but while checking it out he noticed the Marriage Garden's neglect.
       The Catamount Institute, an environmentally focused nonprofit that leases the Beidleman Center from City Parks, was happy to support Berge in restoring the garden. His proposal arrived at a time when Catamount and the city had been up in the air about what to do with the old garden plot, he pointed out.
       I can't say enough about these young Scouts. They ran with this project, said Darlene Jensen, Catamount director. She added that when it's done, the site will be used for environmental classes.

Westside Pioneer article