Sometimes a secret must be told


Unintentionally, its beauty, peace and tranquility remain a secret nobody wishes to keep. A sacred trust is not compromised as I turn an unguarded secret into common knowledge with this column. Only Mother Nature knows why, for almost a decade, a landscape of Black Locust Trees and native perennials lies concealed and known only to a select few – right in the heart of Carmel. The secret shall be a secret no more.

To find the place known as Woodland Garden, go to Central Park. Bypass the Information Desk and set out on your own, resolute to locate the soft and rolling walking paths which wind their way through the woods and eventually reward you with lush, perfectly preened greenery. Start at the path located at the north edge of the lagoon and prepare to be impressed. A natural canopy is created overhead by the trees. Midway through your stroll, you come upon it. The garden meticulously tended and abundant with Celadine poppy, Comfrey, Hellebores and Vibernum.

The Woodland Garden did not just sprout from the ground on its own. An original work of Citizens For Greenspace, the garden is now dutifully tended by a group of independent volunteers. An un-secret and unexclusive society without hush-hush handshakes or complicated oaths. They do not seek fame or fortune. They pursue the camaraderie of likeminded volunteers and they exist to share this jewel with our community and welcome anyone with the same goals. But, their numbers need to increase.

Pattie Chester a long-time board member for Carmel Clay Parks has been instrumental in the planning and implementation of Woodland Garden since the beginning. She says, “It is such a beautiful place, and I am looking for more volunteers to help us maintain it for the people who use it. No gardening experience is necessary, just a desire to work with others to create natural beauty.”

Pattie is accompanied on her days working the garden by Sue Dillon, Mark Varnau and Mimi Merchun. She said, “I would not only love to see more people get involved to help us keep up the garden, but I hope the word gets out the garden exists. It is a gem to be shared!” Go ahead and divulge this secret. No reason to keep it just between you and me. To reach out and offer your green thumb, contact Pattie Chester at