Jane Langlais' garden at her Kenoza Street home is magnificent, with perennial flowers, blueberry bushes and even a pond with koi fish.
It takes a lot of time and effort to maintain it, but none of that matters to Langlais.
"It's funny, because I don't think of it as work," said Langlais. "I consider it fun."
Langlais' garden was recently recognized by the Haverhill Garden Club as its Garden of the Month for June.
The award has extra meaning for Langlais because her mother, Nancy Lagasse, was the club's first president.
"My mother had a greenhouse and she sold annuals," said Langlais. "I would always work with her in the greenhouse and a lot of the plants in my perennial garden were started by her."
Lagasse was the president of the Garden Club from 1967 to 1969.
As a young child, Langlais would help out her mother with several gardening chores. She helped pull weeds at John Greenleaf Whittier's birthplace and tended to the island strips in the middle of Lincoln Avenue near Haverhill Stadium. She was also featured in The Eagle- Tribune when she was a young girl, holding a small flower pot in a photo with a story about her mother.
She took her mother's gardening tips and then began working on her own garden, which has drawn much praise from other Garden Club members.
"I was really quite impressed with the variations," said Joan Pechnik, a club member who voted to recognize Langlais' garden. "Her front yard had perennials and annuals right along the road. People don't usually do that."
Langlais' garden also includes a small apple orchard in the backyard as well as several birdhouses and a significant vegetable garden.
"Her garden is just lovely," said Pat Moriarty, a member of the Garden Club. "She has everything. The flowers are beautiful and all in bloom. They are close to each other but the colors flow into each other and complement each other perfectly."
Moriarty remembers Lagasse's garden from many years ago and she can see Lagasse's garden in Langlais' garden today.
"She was brought up from her mother's gardening, and you learn to love what your parents do," said Moriarty. "It's a love of the family and it's something that they all enjoy to do."
Langlais said that her three children, who are all college-aged, don't have gardens, but she expects her middle daughter to carry on the family tradition.
Lagasse has passed away, but her memory still remains in the form of a scholarship. The Garden Club gives out a scholarship in Lagasse's name each year to a student from Haverhill High or Whittier Tech who is pursuing a gardening-related major in college. The Garden Club donates $300, and $200 comes out of a Lagasse trust fund.
Langlais is always eager to share gardening tips and plants with anyone she comes in contact with. She believes gardening in Haverhill is alive and well.
"It's nice to see the Garden Club and membership that leads on. It's a nice legacy to my mom and the ladies who started it," said Langlais. "It is great to see beautiful gardens in Haverhill and in other public areas downtown."
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