Eagle Scout Tom Philip (of Cranford) will finally see the good results of his Eagle Scout Service Project on Sunday, May 18, when the Master Gardeners of Union County hold their 25th Annual Spring Garden Fair and Plant Sale. The Fair runs from noon to 5pm, rain or shine, at the MGs’ Trailside Demonstration Gardens in the Watchung Reservation (Mountainside). Tom (17) has designed, built and donated to the MGs three portable, handicapped-accessible, raised gardening benches for use by persons with disabilities. On May 22nd, after the Fair, students from the Cranford Campus of the Cerebral Palsy League will visit the MGs’ Trailside compound to garden, for the first time, in Tom’s raised beds.
The portable planting benches are constructed of cedar to ensure longevity, and were designed and pre-cut with the help of Tom’s grandfather, Kenneth Tietjens. Cranford Troop 80 Scouts helped him assemble the beds. The project took 115 man hours to complete.
To fund the project, Tom raised $500 through the sale of mustard from a secret family recipe! He also garnered a $100 donation from the Lowe’s and a $200 grant from the Master Gardeners.
“Tom’s portable beds will help make our Demo Gardens more inclusive to all visitors,” says MG Publicity Chair T.J. Karns. “Easier access is the key. Our new greenhouse and surround feature paved walkways, handicapped parking spaces, and a patio safe for wheel chair access. Tom’s beautiful benches are in sinc with this scenario.”
Tom Philip will graduate from Cranford High School in June and will enter the College of William and Mary in fall 2014.
Scout Troop 80 meets on Mondays, 7:30 to 9 p.m., at the First Presbyterian Church in Cranford.
Since 2002, the Union County Master Gardeners have produced more than 21,360 pounds of hardy vegetables, fruit and herbs for donation to local food pantries and soup kitchens in Union County. For more information, call Judi LaGanga at (908) 964-3654 or visit http://mastergardeners-uc.org. Credit: T.J. Karns, Joan Dickason, UC Master Gardeners.