Norway CC has repurposed a flower bed that has occupied a spot next to its ninth-hole tee for close to 20 years as a memorial garden that includes remembrance and honorary plaques on one side for both living and deceased club members.
Residents of Maine might have a reputation for going about their business quietly. But the members of Norway (Maine) Country Club have found a way to honor loved ones—and to put an overgrown plot of land to good use—in a way that speaks volumes.
After 18 months of work, the property recently opened a new memorial garden that honors deceased members, as well as those who are still living. The garden is located next to the tee of the ninth hole near the clubhouse of the public facility. A flower bed has occupied that spot for close to 20 years.
“It was just a plain bed, but we decided to make it more formal,” says Ron Morse, a member of the Board of Directors and chairman of the Memorial Garden Committee. “That garden has been a topic of conversation for a long time, to determine how to make it look better and fit into the landscape more predominantly.”
The garden includes annual and perennial plants, a bird bath, and a monument where remembrance plaques are mounted. The property’s logo and silhouettes of a male and female golfer swinging a club are featured on one side, with the plaques on the other side (see photos above). A low stone wall surrounds the garden, which measures 52 feet on one side and 55 feet on the opposite side, and 25 feet on one end and 5 feet on the opposite end.
“It’s not just a garden. It’s a work of art,” says Tom Kennison, Norway CC’s current President.
The club formed a Memorial Garden Committee to launch the project and hired a landscaper to plant the garden, erect the monument, and build the stone perimeter. Led by the efforts of Kathy Jillson, the property’s Ladies Association maintains the garden.
The women also maintain flower arrangements in wooden-barrel container gardens by each tee box. The barrel gardens have been on the property for years, and the members of the Ladies Association take turns each year planting and maintaining them.
To date, Norway CC has sold about 40 plaques, which cost $100 each, for the memorial garden (applications to purchase plaques are available in the pro shop). The plaques include the honoree’s name, date of birth, and if applicable, date of death.
Proceeds from the sale of the plaques, along with donations, go toward the upkeep of the memorial garden. Any future purchases of plaques will be used for the garden’s perpetual care.
“The members and players and their guests have all been very pleased with the garden,” Kennison says. “The reaction to it has been very positive. They’re
happy with the way it has turned out, and we’ll appreciate it for years to come.”
The memorial garden is not the only cause for celebration at Norway CC. Next year the property will celebrate its 90th anniversary, and preliminary plans are underway to mark the occasion.
“We’re working on some events for the golfing season next year,” says Morse. “We’ll also have things from our archives on display.”
Morse expects the property to launch the anniversary celebration with a kick-off event, with most of the planned activities falling in July. The final celebration will most likely take place in October, at the end of the season.