Garden club rehabs Squire Rich herb garden

Members of the Chippewa Garden Club provided a much-needed facelift this summer for the herb garden at Squire Rich.

The club has maintained the herb garden since 1982 and has completed several revisions over the years. Originally, the garden was an 11-foot-square raised bed surrounded by timbers containing primarily medicinal herbs Brecksville pioneers would have used in the mid-1880s.

In 2004, the herb garden was enlarged and the rotting timbers were replaced with cedar fencing. With the help of the Cleveland Metroparks, siltstone from the Cuyahoga River Valley was added to create paths and a sundial and a previously buried millstone became the focal point of the garden.

Additional plants appropriate of the 1800s were added in 2005. The garden now contains culinary herbs, tea and fragrant herbs, a native flower garden and medicinal plants. In 2014, a Boy Scout Eagle Project involved repairs and replacement of many fence pickets. Additionally, the entire fence was sanded and stained.

CGC has made several attempts to keep the fencing structurally and cosmetically sound. In January, CGC approved and fully budgeted for the cost of the necessary improvements to the fence and the Cleveland Metroparks agreed to the recommended improvements the following month. 

A few hiccups occurred during the process as the cedar panels had to sit and weather for 3-6 months prior to staining and the new panels were larger and taller. Therefore, the entire fence, including all posts and the trellis, needed to be removed and replaced due to rot and damage and had to be fully painted. Despite these setbacks, the fence and trellis were completed in late July, just in time for the August Corn Roast

The herb garden, located on Brecksville Road next to the Squire Rich Museum, is a part of the Cleveland Metroparks and open to the public at any time. CGC gives tours in August as part of the Brecksville Historical Association’s Corn Roast and at the October Apple Butter Festival. 

Volunteers from the CGC and several members from the Brecksville Historical Association dedicated their time and energy to removing the old fence, sanding, staining and installing the new cedar fence. The herbs in the garden not only survived the makeover but they also have more room to grow. The garden is now more than ‘double the size of the original 1982 garden, and is now a sturdy and spacious area and ready for visitors, truly worthy of a visit. ∞