Heavy rain on Tuesday was not enough to deter dozens of Japanese women from heading to Sam Bridge Nursery & Greenhouses to join forces with Greenwich Green & Clean’s Mary Hull and Sally Davies on project that is a longstanding tradition in town.
With the rain beating down on the greenhouse plastic roof, the women assembled massive hanging baskets of greenery that will be set from special hangers on the lamp posts in town in coming days. Combined with the twinkling trees along Greenwich Avenue, the display is a much anticipated and beautiful sight.
Kanako MacLennan, who has volunteered her time on the project for the past 10 years and is taking over as chair, said the women are ex-pats from Japan whose husbands have jobs here typically for three to five years.
“They go home with nice memories of making these beautiful baskets and being part of the community,” MacLennan said. “It’s also a way to give thanks back to the community that has welcomed them.”
For many years, the baskets of greenery were assembled at the Garden Education Center’s historic greenhouse. Unfortunately, it has fallen into disrepair.
But, leave it to Mary Hull to pivot and come up with plan B: Sam Bridge Nursery & Greenhouses.
While there were about 30 women in the greenhouse at Sam Bridge on Tuesday, the project does benefit from the efforts of about 60 volunteers all together. The work of assembling all 130 baskets takes two to three days.
But that doesn’t include the project of fashioning the festive bows, which is a skill acquired through training and practice. And, in fact, the bow-making involves another tradition: lunch at Mary Hull’s house.
“It’s Mary’s special soup, salad, quiche and dessert,” Hull said of her much anticipated menu.
Hull said Green & Clean started assembling summer flowering baskets about 30 years ago. Then, 22 years ago, they added the winter holiday baskets of greenery.
Green & Clean raised the funds for the vintage looking lamp posts that replaced the existing “cobra head” lamp posts on Greenwich Ave. They also paid for the special hangers for the heavy baskets.
“We raise money for a lot of items that aren’t in the town budget and never will be,” Hull said. “These are items that add beauty.”
Greenwich Green & Clean is located at 113 Pemberwick Rd. Tel. (203) 531-0006