TEMPLE TERRACE - Mayor Frank Chillura recently cut the ribbon to christen the colorful new garden at the city's roundabout connecting the corners of Glen Arven, Inverness and Woodmont avenues.
It is compliments of the Temple Terrace Garden Club and it's one of several gardens throughout the city that members have planned, planted and devotedly nurtured.
"I think it's a great contribution to our community from the Temple Terrace Garden Club that makes our city what the city is all about," Chillura said.
James Chambers, Temple Terrace's leisure services director, concurred.
"It's beautiful, but the bigger thing is the city's partnership with a lot of community service organization. That's what makes the city the great city it is," he said.
Chambers got the ball rolling on the project a few months ago by asking members of the garden club if they'd consider adopting and beautifying the curbed circular spot which at the time contained a palm tree, mulch and some ground-covering evergreen plants.
Cheri Donohue, the garden club's newly elected president, said it wasn't as if the city had neglected the site. It had its own irrigation system but the city simply didn't have the resources or manpower to make it a showcase of scenic foliage and flowers.
Having the garden club take on the project made perfect sense, noted Donohue, but it required a commitment of both time and funds from its treasury to see it to fruition.
With a background in civil engineering, garden club member Patty Cartwright, with input from then president Norma Walker, drew up detailed plans for the garden.
"I wanted pathways to lead to the roads connecting to the roundabout to pull the eye in and encourage drivers to slow down and look at the garden," Cartwright said.
She also wanted the site to be colorful and contain plants that are sun- and drought-resistant and will attract butterflies. Lantanas, pentas, society garlic, sun patiens, dipladenia and dusty miller are among them.
Prior to the planting process, volunteers removed the existing mulch and evergreens, and hauled in and spread more than six truckloads of nutrient-rich elephant compost, compliments of Busch Gardens.
Thirteen garden club members contributed 200 hours to the project that from start to finish took about two months.
"I think it's beautiful and I hope everyone enjoys it for years to come," Cartwright said.
Joyce McKenzie can be reached at JoyceCMcKenzie@gmail.com.