Barbara’s Garden Thrives At Local Library

A 2017 shot of Barbara’s Garden

Despite the challenges of the coronavirus, Barbara’s Garden at the Locust Valley Library is thriving. Marcy Meyer and Kasturie “Kassie” Miller Roth have continued the Locust Valley Garden Club (LVGC) commitment to maintain the garden. Located off the library’s upper level parking site, it includes a table with benches for munching or watching a game at the tennis courts below.

On Earth Day, April 22, Miller Roth scattered handfuls of the wildflower seed bombs she prepared, hopefully to enhance the wooded hill at the top of the lot. In mid-June, she and Meyer purchased plants for this season at Giordano Country Gardens in Sea Cliff and as arranged, charged the $145 bill to the library.

Both gardeners have the chops to know what to buy and where to place the plants. Using the growing conditions of percentages of sun and shade, as well as height and color, they chose the “fill, spill and thrill” approach that makes for a visually exciting gardens.

Taking care of the garden means two or three trips a week to water the plants, something both women enjoy.

“Although the library has a sprinkler, it doesn’t reach some of the plants on top, so there is some extra dedication needed,” Miller Roth explained.

Meyer added, “Last year they hired someone to clip the bushes, but this year with COVID-19 issues, we are letting them grow.”

In a 2014 library newsletter, there was a photo of both women along with a caption that said the garden was dedicated to Barbara Kassner, a Locust Valley employee for 24 years who passed away in 1996 at the age of 73. When Kassner retired, the library wanted to create the garden and LVGC members took on the mission, said Kassner’s son Doug.

He explained that his mother was a plant lover and cared for the 30 or more plants set around the library in various places.

“She would water them regularly and repot and replant them. In the summer, those that could go outside were placed where Barbara’s Garden in now. I planted some bulbs and things there once,” he said.

Barbara was an indoor gardener, he said. “She had Jade plants and spider plants and a night-blooming Cereus.”

“She would invite four or five people for a party on the one day a year it bloomed.” (It is a tropical cactus plant that gives off a floral smell with a soft spicy undertone.)

The younger Kassner has a history with the garden. He’s been doing carpentry work at the library and when the former caretaker left, he took over the job, whose perks included living in its second-floor apartment for 15 years prior to the library building renovation.

The LVGC meets the second Wednesday of the month (pandemics excepted) at 10 a.m. at Bailey Arboretum’s manor house in Lattingtown. The program fee of $15 includes lunch. Contact Dean Yoder at for more information.


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