History of the Betty English Garden
What is now known as the Betty English Garden, formerly called The Triangle, was an enclosed grassy plot containing several dogwoods and a black walnut tree. As civic outreach, members of the Garden Club of Chevy Chase planted bulbs around the dogwoods and installed a hedge of William Penn barberry around the area’s perimeter. In the mid-1980s, in response to its deteriorating appearance, the Garden Club accepted the challenge of making it a more attractive space. Designed by Tricia Saul, with plants selected by former landscape designer and Garden Club President Louise Roberts, The Triangle’s transformation began. During the next several years of its subsequent development, longtime Chevy Chase Village and Garden Club member Betty English died. When the garden was completed, the Garden Club asked the Village if the new garden could be named in her honor. In 1987, the garden was officially dedicated and renamed The Betty English Garden.
At its inception, noteworthy plants from former Garden Club Presidents were incorporated into the garden. Tricia Saul donated her mother’s (Betty English) glacier azaleas, Anne McCloskey divided the oak leaf hydrangea from her mother’s (Elton Phelan) garden. The Rutgers dogwood and hellebores came from Louise Roberts’ garden, and the upright euonymus belonged to Sidney Thompson.
Plants from the gardens of Mary Jane Dunn, Kay Lahr, Elton Phelan, Louise Roberts and other outstanding past members are in the garden. This tradition, although discontinued as the existing plants matured, has created a memorial garden for many longtime Chevy Chase residents and Garden Club Presidents.
Over the years, several shrubs have had to be replaced, and a major renovation of the path and entry was completed in 2011. The Garden Club membership maintains this garden, continuing the tradition of community outreach and civic beautification.