Julia loved playing outside in nature, visiting playgrounds and zoos. We often visited the North Attleboro Zoo at World War I Memorial Park. It is the perfect community park – it has a quiet location that has lots of rocks to climb on and many trees to hide behind and sit under. There are many quaint picnic spots and multiple little zoo animal friends to visit and to feed apples and carrots. So, when we had made the decision to build a memorial garden and park for Julia, the World War I Memorial Park was the perfect and most natural choice.
We approached the Town of North Attleboro and asked permission to donate and build a garden and a playground there at the Park. The town officials were so very supportive. After several meetings with the Town during the early part of 2005, we received our approval to build on the site next to the Zoo.
We hired Icon Parks Design to design a garden that reflected the joy that was Julia. John Ryther, the owner and designer of Icon Parks Design, spent a great deal of time talking with us in our home, getting a feel for Julia’s personality and the dreams we had for her garden. He designed a beautiful butterfly garden that contained many playful features of Julia’s childhood.
The Garden project was planned to occur in three phases. Phase One was the playground. With the help of many family and friends, we built the playground during a community build project that lasted two days. What fun! Phase 2 was the area known as “Julia’s Garden”. This includes the archway, wishing well, fire tower slide, butterfly fountain, butterfly benches and perennial flower plantings. The flower garden includes three categories of flowers: butterfly attracting plants, a touchable sensory garden and a fragrant plant section. This area was recently expanded with the addition of a waterfall, two bridges, a cattail play area and a statue of a unicorn. We commissioned the creation of our unicorn from Chris Williams, an artist from Essex, Massachusetts. Unicorns are known in folklore to represent purity, innocence and magic.
We broke ground for Julia's Garden during August of 2005. Julia's Garden is a continual work in progress. We have plans to connect the playground area with the garden area. This section will include picnic areas with a “maze of discovery”! Many people from several towns visit the World War I Park in North Attleboro. It makes our heart soar when we see families playing and laughing together in Julia’s Garden. Her love of gardening and flowers is now shared with people of all ages and abilities. Julia and her brother Nick have each spent times in a wheelchair, so it is very important to us that the park remain handicap accessible. Even the touchable garden section is raised so those in a wheelchair can reach out and touch the softness of the plants.
Julia brought great love to our family and she inspired us in so many ways. Thank you for lettings us celebrate Julia with our community.
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You will find small engraved stones throughout the park They are engraved with the words that mean so much to us: “hope”, “faith”, “dream”, “friends”, “joy”, “family” and “love”. Please take one of these inspirational stones with you as a gift from our family.