On Wednesday morning, Karen Layher and Erin Trotter were hard at work in the Chelsea Community Fair flower beds that ring the Service Center building.
It’s their annual spring clean-up of the beds that were begun by Fair Board Member Walt Zeeb more than 30 years ago.
They worked the soil, weeded the beds, divided flowers and planted annuals around the well established perennial gardens that provide a colorful reminder that one devoted volunteer fair board’s work is honored by family friends who took up the task when he passed away.
What’s quite remarkable are the number of hibiscus, poppies and hosta that live on years after his passing.
“We do this as a tribute to Walt,” said Karen Layher, who estimated that some of the perennials are 25-30 years old.
And while annuals are added each year to fill in around the perennials, Layher and Totter estimated that there are probably 50 different types of flowers in the beds.
Each year in mid-May or early June, the sprucing, weeding, feeding, dividing and watering of the beds takes place. And that’s before numerous flats of annual flowers are added for additional pops of color.
“We plant the plants and God provides the bounty,” Layher said of the stunning blooming display that always seems to reach its glorious peak during fair week each year.
After COVID curtailed most of the fair activities in 2020, they hope to make the gardens extra beautiful this year.
Red, white and blue flowers surround the memorial rock that displays a plaque honoring fair board members who have passed while a large flag pole stands in the center.