Springfield employee harvests fruits of labor
By Joyce Rainey Long
SPRINGFIELD — Lowell Moss takes time every day to smell and pick flowers and always encourages others to do the same.
Moss, a part-time laborer with the Springfield Township Parks Department, has worked for nearly two years to beautify the 30 acres of township property next to Springfield Lake, planting more than 6 million plants.
He encourages visitors to pick seeds from plants that have dried so they can enjoy seeing the same flowers in their own gardens next year.
“What other park can you come to where we give you presents?” he said.
The seeds and some vegetables will be available until the first frost of the season.
Along with the plants and flowers, Moss also has grown hot peppers and cauliflower along Waterloo Road, and gourds and pumpkins hidden among the flowerbeds.
“I like to have a few surprises,” he explained.
In addition to the flowers, he planted tiny heirloom currant tomatoes from seeds he got from the Ohio Historical Society in one garden bed. Currant tomatoes are grown in Ohio Village in Columbus.
“The tomatoes are no bigger than currants and sweet tasting,” he said.
Moss offered tips for growing tomatoes from seeds for next year: “Squirt the seeds on a paper towel and let them dry. In the spring, plant the paper towel and it will dissolve.”
All of the plants at Springfield Lake are organically grown, according to Moss.
“We use no chemicals and have to be very careful near the water,” he said. “Springfield Lake is one of the cleanest lakes in the state, and we want to keep it that way.”
The colorful gardens at the lake were created with donated flowers and plants, according to Moss. He added that many of the plants, seeds and bulbs have been dropped off anonymously at the administrative office, and he always finds room for the new additions.
The Canton Road Garden Center also has made numerous donations to the lakeside garden area.
“Gardeners hate to throw plants away, and they know we’ll appreciate them,” said Moss. “The plants will help the community and the park.”
The gardening around the lake will never be completed, said Moss.
“Everything keeps growing and changing.”
Two years ago, there were no blooming gardens around Springfield Lake.
“Everything has literally blossomed with Lowell,” said Bruce Killian, who has been a Springfield trustee for the past 16 years. “People don’t realize the gardens are here and they need to take time to come see them. It’s worth the trip.
“We hope people will come and get seeds from the township,” added Killian. “The whole point is to spread the beauty.”
Lowell Moss, a part-time laborer with the Springfield Township Parks Department, is shown at left taking seeds from flowers planted at the township administrative office on Canfield Road. He is offering the seeds to visitors to plant in home gardens. Above, Moss displays heirloom currant tomatoes that are grown in the garden. Photos: Joyce Rainey Long