Overrun with unruly grasses and plants, the unkempt outdoor space at the Hingham Girl Scout House on 26 Burr Road will be the first recipient of a garden makeover, courtesy of Weston Nurseries, as the winner of their “Ugliest Garden Photo Contest.”
After spending their monetary donations and dues to prioritize making the house ADA compliant and wheelchair accessible for use by various community groups, the Hingham Girl Scouts have seen the grounds of their house taken over by overgrowth, said Gretchen Amonte, a member of the town service unit for the Hingham Girl Scouts.
Amonte said they recently added a ramp to the side door of the house in an effort to make it more accessible, but they still need an estimated $85,000 in alterations to the kitchen and bathroom to bring them to ADA compliance standards.
“So all the money’s been going to that and not necessarily maintaining the outdoor space,” Amonte said.
Girl Scout House wins a facelift
Garnering the support of the town through the power of social media, the Hingham Girl Scouts won a free garden design and $1,000 worth of shrubs and bulbs from Weston Nurseries.
Melissa Frank, director of marketing for the Weston Nurseries Hingham Garden Center, said the company’s nine managers narrowed down the more than 50 entries to a top 10, and had the community vote for a winner.
Frank said it was the first year they held the contest as they wanted to give back to the community.
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“It went phenomenally well,” Frank said. “The response was way more than we ever could have anticipated. The number of entrants was phenomenal. Getting it down to the top 10 was very difficult.”
Frank said the garden design, from bulbs to shrubs to grasses, will be based on the topography of the land where the Girl Scout House sits. It will also depend on factors such as soil quality and where the sunlight falls.
“Girl Scouts have been part of the community for a very long time and their story was just quite compelling and I could see that they needed felt and it just felt good to be able to help them,” Frank said.
Plans for the great outdoors
Amonte, who said she was a Hingham Girl Scout growing up, remembers the grounds of the Hingham Girl Scout House, which was built in 1929, as “open green space” where summer camp, camping and field games took place.
“Our hope is that we could maybe get a landscape plan for the fall,” Amonte said. “I’m not sure what sort of planting we could do now but hopefully in the spring, and then we could have a garden full of blooms and be cleaned up a little bit and that way the girls can have a more pretty and safer place.”
Amonte said the Girl Scout House currently has an area with picnic tables and a fire pit that the girls currently use, but she said they would like to expand that area where the overgrowth has impeded on the open space.
Frank said the response from the community “spoke to the fact that there were clearly a need in the community for it” and that they are “100 percent going to keep doing this” in the future.