For several years, patrons visiting the children’s section of North Royalton Branch Library have stared out at a large mulch bed just outside the space’s floor-to-ceiling windows. And for just as long, library employees have wanted to beautify that outdoor space, giving the branch’s youngest patrons something else to look at besides books, toys and motorists driving past on Wallings Road.
Thanks to funding from the Friends of the North Royalton Library and the work of the North Royalton Garden Club, visitors to the library’s children section can finally see something besides the dry, empty bed – a newly installed children’s garden. Featuring lavender, cone flower, milkweed, cat mint, liatris, lobelia, monarda, hyssop, black-eyed Susan and other native, tolerant plants, the North Royalton Library Children’s Garden is a treat for young and old alike. Altogether, there are upwards of 80 plants now residing just outside the spacious windows.
Employees have wanted to do something with the space for years, Branch Manager Jeanne Cilenti said in a telephone interview, but it was always a question of cost and approval. That all changed when the Friends group declared to back the project financially. Members of the North Royalton Garden Club were contacted and ready to team up with the library’s “VolunTEENS” teenager volunteering group but then COVID hit and plans were put on hold once again, said longtime Garden Club President Pam Wetterau.
“We kept in contact and decided that the North Royalton Garden Club would move forward with planning and the planting of the children’s garden,” Wetterau said.
Installed in early June as library staff made their return to work, the garden is deer-resistant and watered daily by library employees until it gets more established. It took Garden Club members about two hours to plant, not to mention time diagramming and planning out the space and acquiring the plants from a wholesale nursery. Wetterau even took an extra step in creating a keepsake notebook of the plant varieties for the library to hold onto. But it was time well-spent and cherished by all involved.
“I put a call out to my members to ask who would be interested in volunteering for the planting of the garden and I got a resounding, ‘Yes!’” Wetterau said. “We hadn’t seen each other since March, and it was so nice just to be outside seeing people. We stayed safe by social distancing and it was a fun day and good to see everybody.”
The new garden won’t be used as an outdoor gathering space due to its location, but rather as a peaceful focal point from inside the building.
“Placards and signage may come later on, but for now, we’re just so happy we’ve done the first step,” Cilenti said. “We will look at how we want to expand it and what else we want to do with the space. It’s a beautiful area to look out at, see something pretty and perhaps see some wildlife.”
The garden has been specifically designed to attract wildlife – the good kind – such as bees, butterflies, birds and other pollinators.
“We’re very pleased the library asked us to plan and create this space and it is our hope that it encourages young people to sit and look out the window – to me, that’s encouraging,” Wetterau said.
She added that she hopes to further involve the North Royalton Garden Club with other such beautification projects.
“From my perspective, the Club should be all about getting out and helping the community as much as possible,” Wetterau said.
She has been president of the North Royalton Garden for seven years, helping oversee planting projects at Saint Albert the Great School, the City Green, City Hall and the Ridge and Royalton Road corridor, among others.

Contributing Writer