Victorian Garden honors tradition of beauty and rest



By Cynthia Price
Legal News

A new garden in town offers natural beauty and respite from the stresses of life.

The Victorian Garden at the corner of Jefferson and Strong is for neighbors and anyone who wants to visit a beautiful, calming place.

Literally rising from the ashes, the Victorian Garden is a project of the Phoenix Continuum, which will also spearhead other beautification projects. The garden’s brochure quotes Phoenix President Norma York-Bremer as saying, “We’re going to do more than just create a garden and go home.”

In the works is a tour of five gardens near downtown: the Babbitt Garden on Western, the well-known Monet Garden at the Bright Mansion, the Shakespeare Garden at Hackley Library, one at the Temple B’Nai Israel, and the new Victorian Garden.

At a dedication ceremony Tuesday, keynoted by Chris McGuigan of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, about 50 people were treated to the restful and lovely garden as well as the story behind it.

In 2009, a century-old house at the location burnt down. York-Bremer’s daughter and two granddaughters lived there but were getting ready to move when the fire started accidentally. Determined to turn around the tragedy (though blessedly no one was hurt), Phoenix Continuum decided a garden there would bring people joy. Donors made it happen.

Says Secretary Karin Carlson, “This is a gift to the community. We’ve even approached First Congregational – their small groups could meet there.”

There will be lighting from dusk to dawn; Carlson says she knows of one neighbor who gets home from work late at night and comes there to enjoy nature with her dog, and “says she always feels safe.”

The space is divided up into a butterfly section, a rose garden, an amethyst garden, a tea garden, and an amethyst garden.