Thank You, Sue Shaffer!
Updated: Jul 28
Sue Shaffer’s dedicated volunteerism on Rountree Branch Trail is as old as the trail. With Gene Weber’s encouragement, Sue first began working years ago on John Urness’ Monday trail maintenance crew. Her love for gardening and all things colorful first bloomed when she proposed creating a butterfly garden. Gene suggested she redesign and relocate the existing butterfly garden that repeatedly washed out during heavy rains.
So, she did.
Aided by fellow gardener Brenda Schwarzmann, Sue planned the plot in the shape of a butterfly with native plants that attract pollinators like butterflies. Located north of the trail near the dog park, the lovely garden showcases cardinal flower, beebalm, purple coneflower, butterfly weed, moonbeam coreopsis, rattlesnake master, among other perennial plant varieties. Sue says Cushman’s Greenhouse of Belmont and Tom Osting donated many of the plants for the project. Also, other PCA gardeners contributed transplants from their own plots along the trail.
The result is stunning.
As the old saying goes about what to expect from the first three years of a newly established perennial bed: sleep, creep, leap. This past summer, those plants did leap!
Besides the butterfly garden, Sue provides her services for three other garden plots, including sole responsibility for the fish garden. (This is the Study of Life Garden in memory of Jerry L. Strohm. It is located westward down the trail from the butterfly garden with sculpted fish that look like they’re swimming through the tufts of native grasses.) The weeding maintenance is done at least twice a week, but Sue says she and Brenda usually check in more often than that because they “really hate those weeds.”