Thirteen years ago, Jill Hudock never would have seen herself as one of the master gardeners and heads of the Shippensburg Peace Garden.
But seven years later and with some monetary support from the state and the community, Hudock has helped the garden transform.
The Shippensburg Peace Garden, where Hudock is one of the master gardeners, is located at Shippensburg Memorial Park, which is right off Route 11.
It is near the Shippensburg Middle School and located right near the football stadium in the park.
The garden received approval for a $15,000 grant from the state shortly after Hudock had gotten involved.
The Shippensburg Borough Council has continued to help the garden and annually provides $300 to help with the cost of upkeep.
The garden has some seasonal flowers, but many of them are year round. Hudock said the garden currently has a mix of evergreens, including a Virginia magnolia tree, ornamental grasses and different mums, such as daffodils and tulips. But not all of the plants are so well-known.
“I like to use plants that are different, because I like to educate the general public,” Hudock said.
The garden features, in particular, the callicarpa plant, or commonly known as the beauty berry, that gets purple berries in September and the leaves turn a mellow yellow color by October. It is a big hit with those who walk through the garden.
The garden was originally started by Pauline Underwood in 1993. Underwood passed away last year.
“She wore the mantle of peace advocate very well,” Hudock said about her friend and mentor.
Peace gardens everywhere can be recognized by the same style white pole with four different languages around them with the words meaning ‘May Peace Prevail on Earth.’
The one in the local garden has the languages in English, Spanish, Russian and Vietnamese.
Hudock believes that Underwood and her group chose those particular languages because of past wars with the countries and the common usage of the other.
The garden won the Public Greening Award, which the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society presented.
It is awarded to gardens under the categories of providing a pleasing atmosphere which is used as an educational spot and improving the area.
They went through a process in which they sent in information about how the garden is used and its purpose. They also sent out a committee to see if the garden is award-worthy. The reception was held at the Governor’s Mansion and was held by Susan Corbett, Gov. Tom Corbett’s wife.
Her tips on keeping healthy gardens include keeping plants away from drafty windows and keeping them from being overwatered.
“I like to put my finger in the soil,” Hudock said. “You can look at it too, but touch is always the best way. If it’s a little moist, don’t water it.”
And for the myth of plants growing faster with talking to them and playing music?
“Oh, that’s definitely a reality. Classical music is preferred. There must be something in rhythm and the vibrations that stimulate something in their growth,” Hudock said.
Along with Hudock, there is another master gardener who helps keep the garden healthy. Local service groups such as the Lion’s Club and the Rotary Club.
And although it is winter and the garden is just a “skeleton” of what it normally looks like, Hudock said that in the spring, the garden is in its prime.
“It is a ceiling of blossom,” Hudock said. “It’s beautiful, truly beautiful then.”
The garden always needs volunteers and anyone interested in working in the garden can e-mail Hudock at firstname.lastname@example.org.