Beacon Hill Garden Club members and family members of Elsie Herrmann and Lise Striar, two late, long-serving members of the organization, gathered on Wednesday, Oct. 25, to dedicate a Lavender Twist redbud in memory of both women at the Peter Faneuil House garden.
“They were both distinct and unique individuals, but they had much in common,” said Molly Sherden, immediate past president of the Garden Club. “They were neighbors of all of us on Beacon Hill, and they were close neighbors of each other. They were friends to many people here and around the world, and they were very close friends with each other. They were members of Beacon Hill Garden Club, and they were both true gardeners who nurtured their own gardens.”
Sherden pointed out that the two women died just 10 days apart, with Hermann passing on Feb. 12 of 2022, followed by Striar on Feb. 22 of last year.
Herrmann, who lived to the age of 99, was “an active, engaged and vibrant member of the Beacon Hill Garden Club,” whose duties included participating in and heading the group’s Civic Planting program for decades, said Sherden.
“Elsie quietly but competently nurtured both Faneuil School gardens, the Old North Church garden, Codman Island, the West End Library and other projects,” Sherden said of Hermann. “Somehow, she cajoled the rest of the membership to help out, but she was always there herself. For her efforts, she was awarded our Club’s Lane Bowl in 2005 and 2015 and our Horticulture Bowl in 2011 and 2013. She was awarded the Garden Club of America’s Medal of Merit in 2010. She also received the Beacon Award together with her daughter, Jeannette, from the Beacon Hill Civic Association for her many years of support and dedication to the Beacon Hill neighborhood.”
During her remarks, Jeannette Herrmann underscored Elsie’s love for nature, which “renewed her spirit and connected her to the oneness of the world.”
Striar, who lived to the age of 86, became a member of the Garden Club in 1985 and served on the organization’s board in various capacities over the years. She received the Weesner Bowl in 2017 and the Innes Bowl in 2001, the latter of which is “awarded to a member who by her loyalty, dedication and enthusiasm has made, in the spirit of Vera Innes, a special contribution to the life of the club,” according to the Garden Club.
“Lise was a true gardener,” said Sherden. “She did not rely on professionals to design and plant her garden; she undertook this project herself. She inspired in me a love of trillium, a plant that filled her beautiful garden on Pinckney Street.”
Sherden added, “Lise was such a lovely person, always with a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye.”
Leslie Adam, former president of the Garden Club who was a neighbor to both Hermann and Striar, said the garden at the Peter Faneuil House (which is a Rogerson Community home) was created by Garden Club members in the early 1990s as a gift to residents of South Russell and Joy streets. The garden also received funding from the Garden Club of America in 1996 via the group’s Founder’s Fund Award.
Hartney Greymont, a local provider of tree services, helped select the planting materials and oversaw the plating itself on a pro bono basis, added Adam.
Sandra Gilpatrick, vice president of the Garden Club, also offered remarks during the tree-dedication ceremony.