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Volunteer Spotlight: Help ‘Wake Up the Garden’ at Justin Morrill Homestead

  • Volunteers are needed to help get the gardens at the Justin Smith Morrill Homestead in shape for the 2018 season. (Courtesy of Justin Smith Morrill Homestead)



Valley News Correspondent
Friday, May 11, 2018

Strafford — Volunteers are needed to help with planting and other yardwork during the “Wake Up the Garden” event at the Justin Morrill Homestead from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 19, at the homestead, 214 Justin Morrill Memorial Highway, Strafford.

“Every year we have a day where we officially have volunteers come and get the gardens ready for the season,” said Michael Caduto, director of Friends of Justin Morrill Homestead, a nonprofit organization that supports the state-run historical site.

Morrill grew up in Strafford and served in the U.S. House of Representatives and Congress for nearly 44 years beginning in 1854. The gardens at the homestead are still accurate representations of Morrill’s careful planning.

“There’s a historic aspect to the gardens that is pretty uncommon and a nice aspect to the site,” Caduto said. “The site is very similar to what it was when Morrill and his family built and maintained the grounds.”

Morrill kept detailed plans for the grounds, which still inspire the care of the homestead today. However, there also are more modern additions to the grounds, like a fairy village, where kids can build houses for mythical creatures.

During the Wake Up the Garden event there are a range of activities that need to be done.

“There’s something for everyone, from pruning to pulling weeds, and mulching to getting the fairy village ready,” Caduto said. People who are interested in participating can register by emailing head gardener Margie Carpenter at gardener@morrillhomestead.org or by calling 802-765-4288.

The homestead begins offering tours on May 26. The tours operate between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, each week. The homestead also hosts two weeks of summer camp for children ages 6-12, as well as events including an art show in July, for which more volunteers will be needed.