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Trees Protect A Sacred Space

As you progress through this sacred space that is guarded by lush vegetation and sixty thousand acres of donated sod the twin fountains come into view. The water represents each of the two towers that fell and each of 42 LED lights in the background stand for a child from Bucks County, Pa. that was left without a parent.

Yardley architect, Liuba Lashchyk has always had a passion for landscape architecture. When she originally designed the Garden of Reflection, she wanted Bucks County's Sept. 11 memorial to be a somber haven of contemplation. She was responding to an ad that ran in a local paper calling for someone to design a memorial to honor those lost in the attacks.

The concept she submitted called for a variety of landscape elements to come together in order to turn a time of darkness into light.

When township officials considered putting softball and soccer fields and a children's playground next to the two-acre memorial, Lashchyk felt some of that serenity would be disrupted by errant foul balls, goal kicks and noise.

Experiencing the Garden of Reflection in Bucks County, Pa. was meant by designer Liuba Lashchyk to be a journey. As one walks amongst the native red bud trees chosen for their heart-shaped leaves and warm color tones, to surround the memorial, a sense of peace is conveyed through the vegetation and the water represents the healing power of the memorial.

So on one special afternoon recently, as volunteers planted nearly 100 trees around the memorial, she said the serenity that she hoped visitors would find at the memorial had been preserved.

"This preserves the contemplative character," said Lashchyk. "It will be a more peaceful and reflective atmosphere."

Trees now line the perimeter of the memorial off Woodside Road in Lower Makefield, which was dedicated in September 2006 as the state's official Sept. 11 memorial. The trees, walking paths and benches that will soon take root around the memorial will become part of an oak shade tree arboretum approved by township supervisors in March. The arboretum, which will feature eight species of oak trees in currently in the first phase and will provide an aesthetic division between the memorial and the rest of the large park.

Princeton Nursery in New Jersey donated most of the trees, and volunteers with the Bucks County branch of Brickman, a landscape management company, toiled much of Friday planting the conifer and oaks.

"This is just one way of giving back," said Kevin Jakin of Langhorne, a project director with Brickman, who came up with the idea to perform the memorial's landscaping pro bono. "This one hits home with everybody."

As the snow falls in this sixty-four acre park in Pennsylvania during March, the two large fragments from the World Trade Center that make up this sentimental sculpture stand tall. The sculpture is surrounded by nearly 100 conifer and oak trees to maintain the serenity that was part of the original design and separate the memorial from the rest of the busy park.

Ellen Saracini of Lower Makefield, whose husband, Victor, was captain of United Flight 175 that struck the World Trade Center's South Tower, said the beauty of the garden "has met every expectation I could have wanted."

Saracini, a member of the committee that raised the money for the memorial, said the arboretum surrounding the garden "preserves the integrity of what the meaning of the garden is." The garden, which includes two fountains representing the World Trade Center towers, is dedicated to the 18 Bucks County victims of the attacks and the nearly 3,000 people who died that day. You will find 18 large hedge maples and beside them 42 small LED lights which represent each child from Bucks County, Pa. that child left without a parent, who is now a source of hope for the future.

Saracini said her committee continues to seek donations for the garden's maintenance and future landscaping projects, including soil for trails and benches that can be dedicated in people's memory.


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December 9, 2019, 10:59 am PDT

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