Published DateMEREDITH — Community Garden Club of Meredith invites members and their guests to a "Hidden Garden Summer Stroll" on Thursday, July 18 at 12:30 p.m. to discover hidden gardens at The Weirs.
The host, Jim Burghoff Jr., will share the history of the Victorian style homes and gardens and share tips and techniques used in creating these inviting and special spaces. Light refreshments will be served. Call 253-3120 to make reservations. Participants will meet at the Meredith Community Center to carpool at 12:30 p.m.
Jim Burghoff Jr. is a former summer resident of Meredith's Spindle Point where he and his family spent all of their summers since the early fifties. Jim's grandfather, Harry Craig (a former president of the Spindle Point Civic Association), encouraged him to perform odd jobs around the Point to earn some extra spending money for the Weirs Beach arcades and to save money for his very first boat at the age of twelve. Jim had his regular customers that could depend on him to care for their lawns, gardens, and stack wood on a weekly basis throughout the summer months. Jim enjoyed being able to climb the stairs of the Spindle Point Lighthouse after caring for the lawn at the end of the Point. Needless to say...his pockets were always lined with quarters and he could be seen riding around the Point on his bright, yellow, Huffy 10 speed bicycle or darting across the lake in his small aluminum boat. Jim remembers his other grandfather, Chet Burghoff, growing rows and rows of flowers for the Yalesville Methodist Church in CT and also had a very large vegetable garden.
Little did these grandfathers know how much they were influencing and helping to create an interest in gardening. One day, Jim was invited to retrieve some perennials from a garden. The neighbor was moving and she just couldn't stand leaving all of her beautiful flowers behind. Jim created his very first perennial bed. In Whitefield, NH, Jim created a large perennial garden for the Morrison Nursing Home residents to enjoy. Jim was bitten by the gardening bug.
In the year 2000, Jim's sister passed away and his family had her memorial service at the Weirs Beach Methodist Church. While Jim's mother and sister were walking back to historic Methodist Circle, they both noticed a small colonial blue cottage for sale. Jim bought it the very next month and slowly started to restore the cottage to its former glory and showcase the property with perennial gardens. When the house next door went on the market, it seemed providential. After purchasing the property, the restoration and planting continued. Today the properties explode with colors and beauty from early spring through fall. People walking by ask if they can come onto the property to have their pictures taken. Often folks comment on how the house and gardens look like some of the old Victorian homes on Oaks Bluff in Martha's Vineyard. Most recently, a local realtor wrote a small article including Jim's property and called it..."Weirs Martha!"
After the self guided stroll through the gardens, Charlene Malek, Garden Club vice president, will demonstrate gathered floral arrangements with blooms from members' gardens and the Meredith Community Center garden. Friend and former neighbor from Spindle Point, Charlene has been an inspiration for Jim to keep digging in the dirt. ! His advice to others...start small, make lots of mistakes, and let the flowers tell you where they want to be planted.