5-10-13arboretum-cover2-2013By Jann Wiswall

The Town of Ellicottville and the Nannen Arboretum Society are in the midst of planning what promises to be a grand garden party at Ellicottville’s grandest garden!

The Nannen Arboretum, a non-profit entity, which is cared for by an all-volunteer committee of dedicated master gardeners and interested others, is in desperate need of funds to keep up with maintenance of the 8-acre park since funding was pulled by the state in 2011. Under the leadership of the park’s new owner — the Town of Ellicottville — a fundraiser has been scheduled for Saturday, August 17, with proceeds going to support what many refer to as the “crown jewel” of Ellicottville.

While plans are still preliminary, Ellicottville Town Supervisor John Burrell said there are many activities already in the works for this day and evening-long event.

The centerpiece of the event will be the Andrew Phelan Memorial Croquet Tournament. Phelan, an attorney and Ellicottville fixture, who passed away on February 20, 2013, held a memorable annual croquet party at his and wife Barbara’s home for many years. The Arboretum tournament, which is being coordinated by their son, Sean Phelan, “seemed a fitting tribute to Andy, whose impact on the community will be felt for decades to come,” said Burrell.

The tournament, which will take place on the large soccer field next to the Fire Station across Fillmore Street from the Extension Service Building/Arboretum, will be open to people of all ages. Burrell imagines players dressed in traditional white outfits filling the area during the afternoon, and then strolling over to the Arboretum where food (including a pig roast), iced tea, stronger beverages, raffles, games and activities for kids, music and more will be offered.

Most important, however, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to stroll through the lovely Nannen Arboretum, where thick late-summer foliage will be on display. Nan Miller, who chairs the Arboretum Society, said the herb, perennial, Japanese and New York native plants and vegetable gardens all will be showing off their best form for the event, and society members will be on hand to answer your questions.

Volunteers to help plan and organize this event are still desperately needed. If you’re or would like to donate funds, raffle items, etc., please call John Burrell at (716) 498-2100.

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