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Ashland - Local Town Pages

Tree on Library’s Front Lawn Dedicated to Lois Bennett

Oct 26, 2020 12:20PM ● By Cynthia Whitty

Because Lois Bennett was a friend to many, the marker says “In Loving Memory of Lois Bennett, Friend, Master Gardener.” (Photo/supplied)

Members of the Ashland Garden Club, several town officials, and others gathered on Oct. 4 on the Ashland Library’s front lawn to dedicate a newly planted native pink dogwood tree to a former club member, Lois Bennett.

Lois and her husband Stan moved to Ashland in 2009 and both quickly became integral members of the community. Sadly, Stan passed away suddenly in 2013; Lois succumbed to cancer on January 24, 2019.

At the ceremony, one garden club member, Florence Seidell, described the couple’s contributions, which involved Warren Woods, Ashland Community Gardens, the Ashland Farmers Market and public plantings around town: “Both Stan and Lois were strong supporters of the purchase of Warren Woods. Stan was an original member of the Land Stewardship Committee charged with tending to Warren Woods, and he designed the beautiful sign that one sees up against the woods upon entering the driveway. There is a dedication to him on that sign.”

“Lois and Stan became gardeners in the Ashland Community Gardens during its second year in 2010. It didn’t take her long to convert a common area prone to flooding into two beautiful butterfly gardens. She eagerly taught all the gardeners about pollinator plants to support monarch butterflies, and ultimately she earned us the certification for a Monarch Butterfly WayStation. Lois taught other gardeners how to maintain the butterfly gardens. It is now called the Lois Bennett Butterfly Gardens, an attractive, flourishing place of pride for community gardeners. Lois never missed an opportunity to teach children and adults about the plight of the monarch butterfly, the thrill of growing sunflowers from seeds, or the joy of raising your own organic vegetables.”

“. . . The Town of Ashland is more attractive, more nature oriented, and more community-minded because of their too short time here. I am delighted that we are marking this tribute to Lois Bennett today.”

Ashland Garden Club President Gretchen Bravaccos said: “ . . . I know that when we think of Lois, we remember her high energy level, her enthusiasm, her optimism and most of all her resiliency. She had a lot of interests and loved to be on the go.” Bravacos went on to describe the many projects around town that Lois initiated, like teaching children about pollinators and their role and digging up and planting a garden around the post office.

“Lois had always wanted the garden club to plant a tree on the library’s front lawn,” Bravacos said in an email. “I approached the library director and trustees, and they gave their approval. Lois wanted a native pink dogwood but was too ill to go with me to choose one. Once the tree was planted [in September 2018], my husband and I took her to sit by the library gardens and she enjoyed seeing the newly planted tree. Sadly, she passed away in January 2019. We would have held this dedication last spring but for the pandemic.”