The group known as “Let’s Beautify Landing” fought against the wind and braved the cold and rain Saturday morning to bring a bit of color and cheer to the tip of Lake Hopatcong.
Led by group founder Mary-beth Boughton, about two dozen residents, including a handful of teenagers, systematically transformed the monochromatic concrete bridge and metal fence that introduces the rest of the world to Lake Hopatcong, with pops of red, white, blue and green. It took the group just over an hour to complete the transformation. In all, they attached 22 geranium-filled baskets and 28 red, white and blue bunting flags to the fence which skirts the tip of the lake. Along the bridge that connects Landing Road to Mount Arlington and Lakeside boulevards, the group attached 16 larger baskets and filled in some of the free space with six bunting flags. A dozen large pots dot the median along Lakeside Boulevard as well.
Boughton, who moved to Landing nine years ago, solicits local merchants to fund the project. This year, twenty-five local businesses contributed to the fund, she said, including Accurate Pest Control, American Advertising, Bagels on the Hill, Bill and Valerie Drake, Bob and Judy Gilfillan, Cambiotti’s Tomato Pie Café, Cleaner’s Haven, Dominic’s Haircutters, Jackie Suegling, JP Construction, Lake’s End Marina, Lakeland Deli, Lakeland Florist, Landing Auto Center, Landing Market, Station Hardware, Leber Lakeside Funeral Home, Liquor Factory ,NJ Martial Arts Academy, Kathy Courter Re-Max, Snono Gas Station, Speedway Gas Station, Struble Gardens, Sunnyside Landscaping, and Woods Greenhouses.
On Friday night, with all the materials gathered and ready for assembly, Boughton rounded up a group of volunteers, including a few boy scouts from Troop 188, and headed to the house where Christine Houtz lives with her family. The mulch and dirt came courtesy of Sunnyside Landscaping, said Boughton. Within a couple of hours they had all the baskets and pots filled with the fresh dirt, flowers and mulch.
Come Saturday morning, JP Construction pitched in with their trucks and manpower and helped transport the finished pots and baskets to the sight. Roland Boughton, Mary-beth’s husband, takes on the task of making sure the plants stay alive throughout the summer by using a water jug on wheels. He has the hardest job said Boughton. "This is the most beautiful lake in New Jersey," said Boughton who started the adding flowers to the hardscape the same year she moved to Landing, "and we don't have a pretty entrance. We think this makes a difference."