Remodeled Garden at Library To Be Unveiled on August 18

In addition to holding its children’s programming during the month of August outdoors, weather permitting, on the grounds of the Old West Church next door, the Friends of the West End Branch Library will also unveil the library’s newly remodeled garden on Wednesday, Aug. 18, at 10:30 a.m.

Garden Storytime at Old West Church, garden-themed stories and songs for children, ages 0-5, takes place on Tuesdays, Aug. 10 and 17, from 10:30 to 11 a.m. at the Old West Church Walkway and Food Forest area. (The first Storytime of the season took place there on Aug. 1, drawing around 15 children). The programming is held beneath a tent, so guests are encouraged to bring a towel or blanket to sit on, and in the event of inclement weather, it will be cancelled.

Helen Bender, longtime West End Branch librarian, said these are not only the first Storytime children’s events that the library has sponsored since March 2020, but they’re also significant in that the library’s first home, from 1896 to 1960, was the current church building at 131 Cambridge St. (The library moved into its second and current home at 151 Cambridge St. in 1968).

This year, Old West Church also “reimagined” the space, said Bender, with the installation of a pollinator garden, living wall, as well as permanent irrigation.   

The Aug. 18 event for kids, ages 0-12, at the garden in front of the library, meanwhile, will showcase the “dramatic change” that space has undergone since March 0f 2020.

Sheryl Man, who heads up the West End Branch Friends group’s landscaping committee, said, “We’ve spent about $7,000 so far, which includes the initial cleanup and everything we did this past year. We got $2,000 from the Beacon Hill Garden Club, as well as daffodil donations from them and the Boston Blooms program. Our landscaping committee members have also donated garden tools, flowers, and other supplies over the last year”

For the event, Casey Abbott, the children’s librarian, along with gardeners from the Friends group, will talk to kids about the garden, said Bender, and there should be some vegetables for children to take away with them. (In the event of inclement weather, this activity will also be cancelled.)

Participating children, who are encouraged to wear close-toed shoes and clothes that can get dirty, she added, can also explore the garden, or hold one of the around 1,000 worms now living in a tub in the library in preparation for moving into the garden.

Lowly Worm, a fictional character created by children’s author, Richard Scarry, will also make an appearance at this event, said Bender. Both Garden Storytime at Old West Church and the unveiling of the library’s new garden, said Bender, were planned to tie in with “Digging Deeper, Growing Stronger,” the Boston Public Library’s summer reading program

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