BLUE STAR MEMORIAL Susan Mister of the South Valley Fleurs Garden Club prepares a new garden downtown in advance of its unveiling on Veterans Day. Photo: Erik Chalhoub
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A small garden plot downtown has taken on a significant meaning for local veterans.

The South Valley Fleurs Garden Club worked with the City of Gilroy to establish the Blue Star Memorial Garden in front of the Veterans Memorial Building on Sixth Street.

The garden and plaque will be formally unveiled at a virtual Veterans Day ceremony on Nov. 11 at 11am. 

On Aug. 3, Susan Mister of South Valley Fleurs asked the Gilroy City Council to consider allowing the club to establish and maintain a garden on the city-owned land. Two weeks later, the council unanimously agreed to the proposal.

Since then, it was a race against the clock to finish the garden in time for Veterans Day.

“The city was phenomenal,” Mister said. “Everything went super fast. It all flowed into place.”

Crews went to work clearing out the existing plants in the plot that is roughly the length of a mid-sized vehicle. The club was able to secure drought-tolerant plants such as geraniums, agapanthuses and myoporums through Western Tree Nursery in Gilroy, which will bloom with red, white and blue flowers.

A 500-pound stone for a memorial plaque was purchased from Peninsula Building Materials in San Martin, which was forklifted into place by Public Works crews. The plaque, meanwhile, was ordered from Ohio-based Sewah Studios.

The club came in under budget at $800, and Mister is hopeful that most of the funds will be reimbursed after applying for a Plant America grant from the National Garden Clubs.

The nonprofit South Valley Fleurs is a group of gardeners in South Santa Clara and San Benito counties that maintains several public gardens in Gilroy, Morgan Hill and Hollister.

The virtual Veterans Day ceremony will include words from Mayor Roland Velasco as well as a performance of Taps and other patriotic songs by Tom Brozene. To view the event, visit facebook.com/GilroyVeteransHall.

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Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.

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