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Triangle Gardens Committee Reports

2022-2023 — Susan Yu, Chair; Betty Murphy, Vice Chair

Triangle Gardens had a beautiful pink spring display of the "Pink Impressions" tulips collection (early and mid-spring blooming Darwin varieties) this year. Calendar days were dashed when Mother Nature gave us some over 80-degree, summer-like April days coupled with torrential downpours in early May. The hot and rainy days finished off our pink flowers ahead of our usual timetable and left us looking only at green stalks.

A great crew assembled at the last minute to lift the bulbs on Thursday, May 4 and then plant the rose pink and peppermint white Vincas, dark purple Elephant Ears, white and purple Astilbes, and Rose Cannas on Friday, May 12th, just in time for Mother's Day. It was wonderful to meet and see many of our Provisionals join in alongside our devoted "regulars."

Our summer maintenance schedule begins soon, and we hope to see you throughout the season. Hands will be needed for mulching and adding more native plants. COVID-19 presented new challenges on Church Street, including construction that eliminated three of our longtime raised beds, but also wonderful new opportunities outdoors, like meeting when much of life was on Zoom. We team with the Montclair Center BID, namely director Jason Gleason and new manager Jerry Rafalovich. We were honored to be recognized with a GCNJ Civic Beautification award last year.

Thanks to the incredible Betty Murphy and Janet Oscar who will now take over chairing Triangle Gardens — a continuance of seventy plus years of beauty and excellence.


2021-2022 — Susan Yu, Chair; Jamie Chase, Vice Chair

This is a special year for Triangle Gardens. Not only is it our 70th anniversary of tending the large planters of the "triangular intersection" of Church Street, Bloomfield, and South Fullerton Avenues, but we were also honored by the Garden Club of New Jersey this June with a special Large Club Civic Beautification award.


We could not have achieved this without our wonderful, enthusiastic, and dedicated committee and our longtime, expert guide Jamie Chase, who helped us implement a new matrix planting method this year.

Last November 6th, into our nine large planters went 1,500 tulip bulbs. This winter, the town removed three of the bulb-filled planters (in front of the now defunct Hampton House and the Pure Energy Salon corner), while undertaking road construction on Bloomfield Avenue. They were deemed hazardous after conducting a quick pedestrian safety study. Also, in early April, the town considered a proposal to require all public spaces be 70-90% native plantings.  Special thanks to Betty Murphy, Cynthia Corhan-Aitken, and Celia Radek for representing GCM at the April town ordinance meeting. We plan to incorporate more native plants with Jamie's new matrix system as the season progresses. We hope to see more Provisionals during our summer maintenance schedule and for mulching.


May 16th, right after Mother's Day, we removed all the faded red-edged Hocus Pocus and white-tinged Golden Parade yellow tulips from our remaining six planters. The following Monday morning, on May 23rd, we planted Maui Gold elephant ears, pink and white periwinkles (Vinca minor), some native pollinators of coral bells and Jacob's Ladder, and replenished some soil. Thank you to our wonderful crew: Susan Benner, Jamie Chase, Susan Dumont, Maria Matesanz, Penny McCook, Betty Murphy, Sheila Oakes, Janet Oscar, Maggie Rothmann, Kathy Sorkin, Maureen Sprong, Wendy Stahl, Lauren Zodel, and our favorite duo-Charlene & Terry Connelly. All their invaluable help provides another year of beautiful plantings! We are grateful to the Montclair BID, who still supports us with funding and maintenance help, and all the local businesses and public that thank us and appreciate our efforts!


2020-2021 — Susan Yu, Chair; Jamie Chase, Vice Chair

In late October our intrepid Triangle Committee enthusiastically turned out to quickly remove the annuals despite COVID conditions and a chilly, misty, steady drizzle. In less than four hours we lifted the pink and white vincas, purple salvia, red cannas and enormous elephant ears. As befitting the challenging year, our tulip bulbs were held up in delivery so we waited for their arrival and planted them mid-November. They bloomed beautifully in the spring.


In mid-May, our fantastic Triangle crew removed the spent waves of yellow tulip bulbs and planted the multicolored annual varieties (rose periwinkle, purple astilbe, various cannas) all on a beautiful spring day, and in record time. Normally these tasks, bagging over a thousand tulips and planting hundreds of annuals, would take more than one work day. Later, Jamie Chase planted the crowd favorite Maui Gold elephant ears. We will continue the summer maintenance of mulching, light weeding, pruning, and rubbish removal. Occasionally we get an extra surprise set of hands via some husbands, and we hope to see more Provisionals. We are excited to welcome the wonderful Betty Murphy, who has agreed to be our new Vice Chair next year.


2019-2020 — Susan Yu, Chair; Jamie Chase, Vice Chair

Covid-19 has been a strange and challenging situation and I am especially grateful this year's committee braved the quarantine to enthusiastically help lift, plant, and mulch the Triangle planters. While most of Montclair turned into a virtual ghost town this spring, Church Street lit up downtown with its cheery waves of bright Big Smile yellow tulip blooms that our autumn 2019 committee and Provisional members planted.


The tulips were soon offset by the colorful shrubs and white flowering Venus Dogwood planted in 2015. Mid-May, our Triangle crew arrived gloved and masked to lift the 1,600 spent tulips and plant the annuals and later mulch all the raised planter beds. This year's two vinca varieties were Cooler Rose and Cooler Peppermint and were again interspersed with the magnificent elephant ears, Colocasia esculenta "Jack's Giant." Cannova Rose cannas and Sizzler White salvias were also featured in the Hampton House bed. The planters are maintained through the summer, mostly light weeding and pruning.

Montclair Center Business Improvement District (BID) continues to kindly assist us with funding and maintenance. I am thankful to Debbie Moran who generously shared her many skills, especially organizing the Triangle Gardens Committee. Extra thanks are due to Kathy Parsons for transporting the tulip bulbs and helping remove and dispose of the giant elephant ears last fall, and especially to Jamie Chase, current Vice Chair and longtime Committee Chair who continues to provide her expertise and invaluable assistance.

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