Ever since Phil Iacangelo began gardening along the canal of his South Bethany home, he’s noticed a greater sense of community on York Road.
Watering the daisies, daylilies, coxcomb and crape myrtle early in the morning, Iacangelo is often greeted by joggers, cyclists and pedestrians.
His public garden not only starts conversations, but this year it won the Adopt-A-Canal 4th annual decorating contest.
Sponsored by the Community Enhancement Committee (CEC), the Adopt-A-Canal program lets residents take ownership and beautify their neighborhood.
“I think Phil adopted it about 40 years ago when we first moved here. He loves it,” said his wife, Cicily.
“Not only are we beautifying canal ends, but I’ve noticed people in the neighborhood, they’re replanting flowers in their homes,” Phil Iacangelo said. “They’re trying to beautify. You’ve developed a pride in South Bethany.”
“It’s contagious. People pick themselves up to the [standard],” said Sue Callaway, SB councilmember and CEC chairperson.
Iacangelo credited Callaway for encouraging beautification of the town.
Of 48 canals in South Bethany, the participation rates have quadrupled to 26 active canal adoptions.
“Sometimes it sounds like a big undertaking,” Callaway said, but if there is just one leader, it’s easier to get helpers.
“People are getting to know each other,” Callaway added. “It gives you a conversation … that’s what we’re trying to create. More a sence of community [not just a summer residence]. I think more people are spending even more time down here. They want nicer things.”
Residents enjoy adding various features, from park benches to doggy water bowls.
Carol Stevenson of Bayshore Drive won second place, and third place was Pat Weisgerber of Peterson Drive.
Earning gift certificates to Lord’s Landscaping, canal winners get consulting and more supplies to beautify the neighborhood.
The best way to begin beautification is to just start digging.
“Start small. Get it to an empty palette, then bite off what you can chew,” said Michael Lord, who enjoys working with the community.
He recommended using native plants that need less fertilizer or attention.