In 2012 Sophie, Madigan, and Morgan were Accepted to Carroll Creek Montessori School through their lottery process. We were so excited for the opportunity- we work hard to help get the school opened. Sophie and Morgan worked with their grandmother building shelves Madigan, Sadie and I worked in child care so other parents could volunteer. The girls, all three of them loved their school. When the girls passed away the school worked to create a peace garden to honor Sophie. It was such a weekend and beautiful gesture but it was hard that Madigan wasn’t included. This year the schools Junior Girl Scouts decided they wanted to help bring the peace garden back to the beautiful state it began and they choose to honor Madigan by adding a stone for her as well. We feel so blessed to have this space honoring the girls in a place that meant so much to them. Yesterday the Junior Girl Scouts held a dedication ceremony.
In Blessing of the Peace Garden
June 13th, 2018
Kristine – Welcome
We want to welcome and thank you for attending the blessing of Carroll Creek Montessori Public Charter School’s Peace Garden in memory of Sophie and Madigan Lillard. The Peace Garden was created in 2013 to memorialize Sophie and Madigan Lillard. Sophie was a student at the school and her sister Madigan would have attended in the fall of 2013.
To start, we would like to give you a little background about this project and explain how we started. The Girl Scout Juniors decided to earn their Bronze Award this year, which is the highest award a Junior may achieve. This award challenges the Juniors to explore their community, choose a project, make a plan and put that plan into motion. Back in January, the Juniors walked around the school taking a look at the community and looking for what they could do to help and improve their school. The girls all expressed a love and appreciation for the Peace Garden and were sad that it had fallen into some disrepair. They then decided to take on its restoration.
To begin this project, we asked the Lillard family for more information about Sophie and Madigan, so we could incorporate their interests and things that they liked into the garden. We also researched the meanings of plants and brought those into the garden to allow the garden to tell its story.
We then brought these ideas to Analiese Kennedy who was able to use her talent and skill as a Master Gardener to bring this project together.
Analiese – Design Objectives for the peace garden are:
• To dedicate, maintain and nurture the peace garden as a symbol of hope for the future and
o our school’s commitment to peace – peace within ourselves and our school community,
o peace within the global family and peace with nature.
• Respect and promote peace by example.
• Use our Peace Garden for celebrations of peace and the environment, and in appreciation
o of the rich cultural heritage of the students and faculty of our school, and our community.
• Welcome and share our place of peace with other members of our community.
[Analiese] In order to achieve these objectives, I incorporated the following as Elements of Design:
• Path of Peace
• Path of Discovery
o Hidden along the Path of Discovery is the Fairy Garden (Promotes the memory and energy of all the Lillard children)
• Peace Tree
o Nestled along the Path of Peace is the Peace tree (weeping willow cherry)
• Friendship Bench
[Kristine] Tour of the Garden
Now, the Girl Scout Juniors would like to give you a tour of the garden:
[Keira] The Plants
Sophie and Madigan liked blue and pink and the garden was based on a pink, purple and blue theme. Sophie’s favorite flower was blue and pink morning glories. We have planted seeds along the fence and these morning glories will begin to climb and flower on this fence. Morning glories represent “affection” and show the love the school had for the girls.
Madigan loved peonies and watching the ants open the buds to big, huge blooms. In the fall, peonies will be transplanted around the tree and the plaques. Peonies represent “a happy life”, which Sophie and Madigan very much had.
We also picked out blue salvia, which means “I Think of You” and rosemary for “Remembrance”. There will be arborvitae planted along the back edge of the garden later this summer. They will represent “Unchanging Friendship”. The daisies sprinkled throughout the garden represent “Hope and Innocence”. The butterfly bushes also remain and were one of the girls’ favorites.
[Lauren] The Tree
Mrs. Lillard wrote us this remembrance, “Our yard had a huge 20-year-old Kwanzan flowering cherry tree. It would start every spring as this huge pink fluff ball with pink snow gently falling. The leaves would start as green in the spring and turn a brilliant sherbet orange in the fall. We had a hammock and a small slide under the branches. The girls loved to play under the shade of the tree and enjoyed all of the beautiful colors the tree brought to our yard throughout the year.”
We wanted to put in something similar in the garden. This new tree, a Weeping Willow Cherry tree represents both “Peace and sadness but with an abundance of new beginnings and possibilities renewed”. This is a focal point of our garden that you will see as you sit on the bench. The plaques for Sophie and Madigan rest under this tree.
[Gaby] The Plaques
A plaque has been added for Madigan Lillard under the Weeping Willow Cherry Tree to match her sister Sophie’s plaque.
[Gaby] The Bench
The girls loved lady bugs and butterflies and enjoyed wild flowers like buttercups, violets, and dandelions. This new bench was colored with one of the girls’ favorite colors and imprinted on the sides with these creatures and flowers that they enjoyed. The bench faces the tree and the memorial plaques so that visitors may have an opportunity to sit in peace and enjoy the garden.
[Janessa] The Peace Rocks
The rocks along the paths and under the bench have been painted with colorful messages from the Compassionate Kids Club, the Girl Scouts and students at the school. The messages on the stones are ones of peace, hope and kindness.
[Janessa] The Fairy Houses
The girls loved to build fairy houses, so we have picked out five fairy houses to add to the garden. These five houses represent the girls and their siblings.
[Ava] The Garden
The garden was created as a space for remembrance and peace. It was lovingly cared for by the girls’ grandmother for many years. We hope that these changes and additions provide the family and school with a space of remembrance and peace to be able to pause, reflect, and relax.
Donors & Thank Yous
[Kristine] We would like to thank the donors who made this possible. We would not have been able to complete this restoration without these generous donations:
[Girls Take Turns] First, we would like to thank the Lillard family for giving us their blessing and guidance on this project.
We’d like to thank Mr. Tom Kohlhepp at Lough Memorials for the new memorial plaque for Madigan. This helps us to complete the garden and honor Madigan.
We’d like to thank Jeff Creeger at Frederick Brickworks for his generous donation of nearly 500 pounds of river rocks. These created the foundation for our bench and more importantly the messages of peace sprinkled throughout the garden.
We’d like to thank the businesses who gave us discounts or gift cards to complete pieces of the garden including Lowes and Potomac Garden Center.
We’d like to thank Compassionate Kids Club for helping us to plant the garden and decorate peace rocks.
We’d like to thank Erica at Rite Aid who generously donated the money for us to purchase fairy houses and honor the Lillard siblings in the garden with their own fairy village.
We’d like to thank the people who donated their time and talents including Colleen Porter and the Garden Club, who helped us clean-up the garden.
Paul Harbison who came and helped us measure the soil and figure out where we needed to add soil.
Vicki Quist who helped make the baked goods for our yard sales.
Kelli McIntosh, Vicki Quist, Albert Price and Desiree Mortenson who helped us to run our yard sales to raise money.
Scott McIntosh who cut down the tree.
Desiree Mortensen who wrote two grants.
And, Michael Beth Edwards who helped find and donate plants to the garden.
We’d like to thank our parents who had to get up really early on weekends to drive us to yard sales, who had to help us with our research, take us to endless meetings and help out at odd times.
We’d like to thank Kylee Farrell for sitting through lots of meetings and helping us.
We’d like to thank Steven Eyler who very generously designed and created this gorgeous new bench that has become a focal point of the garden.
Finally, we would like to give a huge thank you to Analiese Kennedy who came up with a new design for the garden that added the new plants and trees. For helping us to learn about gardening and teaching us what is a weed and what is a plant. For showing us how to prune and being patient. And most importantly, for having endless enthusiasm and a positive outlook on what we could accomplish.
[Lillard Family] Placing of the Fairy Houses
At this time, we would like to have the Lillards each take a fairy house and place them in the garden. These houses represent each of the Lillard children and will create a fairy village in the garden.
[Nicky Welzelberger] Blessing of the Garden
Let us all join hands along the path of peace, circling around to bless this garden as a place of peace and friendship!
I offer you peace,
I offer you love,
I offer you friendship,
I hear your cry,
I see your beauty,
I feel your pain,
This caring flows from my spirit within,
I salute that spirit in you.
We dedicate this place of peace to the memory of Sophie and Madigan.
May their calm, gentle souls bless this place for the future generations of children that come here.