Lunches at the Woodbridge Senior Center are even fresher than usual this summer thanks to three volunteers. Richard Traumer recently retired and his wife, Valerie, suggested that they revive the vegetable garden at the Senior Center. Valerie is a Woodbridge Garden Club member and the Club is sponsoring the garden through the purchase of plants and materials.
The garden had fallen into disrepair over the past few years and by the time the Traumers were ready to revive it, the area was covered in English ivy. Valerie says that six Garden Club members spent six hours trying to clear the ivy and barely made any headway. John Ciarleglio, who is known for his extraordinary gardening skills, was at the Senior Center that day and offered the use of his rototiller and expertise.
Now the long and narrow garden is home to 40 tomato plants, basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley, bell peppers, eggplants, lettuce, cucumbers, pumpkins and zinnias. “The Town of Woodbridge has such amazing volunteers,” said First Selectman Ellen Scalettar. “I’d like to congratulate John, Richard and Valerie on such a beautiful and worthy project.”
John and Richard visit the garden two to three times a week and John serves as a gardening mentor to Richard. John turns 90 on July 8 and is still active, using a hoe several times a week to weed the garden.
All the food raised at the garden is available for use by the Senior Center chef Elaine Marcucio. “It’s very exciting,” says Marcucio. “Everything I do is homemade and we try to use as many fresh and local ingredients as possible. This garden will save us a lot of money and it’ll taste better and fresher.”