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Garden clubs make a point in decorating courthouse

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By Jenny Hartley

The Lancaster County Courthouse may be battered and broken right now, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worthy of some traditional holiday cheer.

Members of three Lancaster County garden clubs dressed up the 180-year-old courthouse with holiday greenery Wednesday morning.

The garden clubs have decorated the front of the courthouse and the Confederate monument on the grounds for the past several years.

The clubs weren’t going to put the tradition on hold this year, even though the courthouse, which was set on fire Aug. 4, is awaiting repairs and isn’t being used now.

Margaret Bundy, a member of the Lancaster Garden Club, stood on the ground Wednesday helping direct other garden club members as they attached garland around the railings on the courthouse steps.

“That looks good,” she said. “Do you have enough wire?”

The garland starts with an artificial strand, then live greenery, including wax myrtle, magnolia, two kinds of holly, boxwood and pine, are added in.

The artificial garland makes for a solid base to attach the live plants. By the time the natural plants are added, it’s difficult to see the artificial strand.

“If someone wants to do it at their home, it’s a good technique,” Bundy said.

The garden club members, representing the Lancaster Garden Club, Leaf and Petal Garden Club and Green Gardeners, braved a brisk December morning to beautify the county’s beloved courthouse.

Garden club members assembled the garland at The Artisan’s Center on South Main Street and then made their way to the courthouse in sort of a garland train.

“You’re going to have to pry this garland from my cold, cold hands,” said Lancaster Garden Club member Deanna Hungerford.

Due to damage from the fire, the garden clubs skipped putting garland around the entrance on the second floor. But otherwise, the decorating went on as planned, which was the point.

“I hope we’re making a statement that this building will survive, that it will continue,” Hungerford said.

Peggy Little agreed, saying that she hopes the statement will be “in your face.”

“We’re trying to send a message that the negativity associated with the burning won’t dictate what Lancaster is,” said Little, a member of the Lancaster Garden Club. “We still love our little courthouse. It will always be a part of Lancaster. It’s almost like we’re here to nurture it.”

Contact senior reporter Jenny Hartley at jhartley@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1151