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19th Century Club planning new downtown garden

Crepe myrtle trees will soon be planted in a garden on The Square of Pilot Point, courtesy of work being done by the Nineteenth Century Club of Pilot Point and money from multiple sources.

The Nineteenth Century Club initiated the Wes Miller Memorial Garden in cooperation with the current owner, Konrad Shields. The project began last spring and will be installed this spring on the west side of The Square along Washington Street. Miller, 69, was a local artist who died in 2015.

Crepe myrtle trees feature pinkish-red flowers and grow in warmer climates. Three of them will be in the garden along with boulders, groundcover rosemary and lantanas.

“Wes loved lantanas,” said Rebecca Millikin, president of the Nineteenth Century Club.

She said there will be xeriscaped plants besides the lantanas and rosemary. Millikin hopes to start on the garden in early March.

“The biggest issue that we’ve had is the nut grass, and we’re tried all kinds of ways to get rid of it, including digging for nuts,” Millikin said.

Club members are in the process of getting the specs done for the garden. Landscape architect Susi Thompson is doing the specs.

“We’ll contract out for the installation following Susi Thompson’s plan and the raw materials she’s specifying,” Millikin said, referring to a longtime friend of Miller’s.

The crepe myrtles will break up the expanse of white on Washington Street.

“With the amount of traffic, it’s going to add a beautiful feature to The Square when we get it in,” Millikin said.

Club member Barbara McMillan said her club has attracted attention by the work it has done on the soil, with people stopping on Washington to inquire about the project.

“Occasionally, someone will stop and help us,” Millikin said.

Pilot Point City Council member Dean Cordell has helped in the garden, removing large weeds, Millikin said. Club members have spent 98 hours on the garden.

Organizers might eventually add benches, Millikin said. For now, people can sit on the boulders if they want to. A plaque will be placed noting the garden is named after Miller.

The club will receive a matching grant from the Pilot Point Economic Development Corporation for $1,500, with the club match coming from Shields. The club is also raising money from the community. Club officials endeavor to replace the soil and will have to figure out a watering system, and they are interested in finding money to help maintain the garden over time. They will need to buy materials for the garden and then have the garden installed.

“We’re going to be putting some donation jars in some of the businesses on The Square,” Millikin said.

Anyone wanting to contribute to the garden may send check donations to Barbara McMillan, Wes Miller Memorial Garden, P.O. Box 564, Pilot Point TX 76258.

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