Spindleworks was given a summer facelift last week by Gnome Landscapes of Falmouth. On one of the hotter days this summer has presented, Brandon and Geoffrey from Gnome put in a full day of labor to weed, edge and mulch the perennial beds that surround the historic house on Lincoln Street. And they did it with a smile, contributing to a history of volunteer effort and community kindness that has created the Art Center’s gardens. According to Gnome owner Rick Campbell, “Our ethical code of earth, integrity, honesty, respect, craftsmanship and community is more than just a lip service mantra. We do believe in giving back.”
Giving back is how the Spindleworks gardens have come to be. Portland based Landscape Architect Ann Kearsley was the mastermind behind the most recent upgrade to the landscaping at 7 Lincoln Street. Inspired by the artists’ work, she offered to lead a winter workshop series on garden design and landscaping in 2009. With her facilitation, the artists at Spindleworks put together what they felt would be a nice environment to surround the majestic house; a patio, a trellis, climbing plants, maybe a bird bath! Ann took all ideas and sketches and returned to her Portland office to create a garden plan. She then worked to get labor and materials donated to bring it to life. Blue stone from a former customer was donated to create the patio and one of her contractors donated his time to put the patio in. Spindleworks volunteers helped dig in plants donated from Skillins and Kennebec Flower Company.
Each year the garden grows, and takes on a new element. One year it was the Nikita Willow planted out front in honor of Spindleworks’ founding Director Nan Ross. Another year Susie Perrine joined the artists to help create a trellis. This year, sculptures from the studios have found their way into the gardens; a hanging wooden piece by Mitch Pfeifle in the crab apple tree, ceramic houses scattered in the mulch.
The Spindleworks garden becomes an outdoor studio during the summer and quiet retreat for the artists and staff who want to work or eat lunch outside. The Spindleworks artists and staff together work to upkeep the grounds, weeding, raking and watering when needed. Each year a few more plants are added. But the work takes time that the artists and staff don’t always have so the gift from Gnome Landscape this year was much needed to bring back the gardens to their glory.