May Stringer Living Memories Garden Project
May-Stringer House
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Location: Brooksville, Florida
Built: 1855
Architectural style: Queen Anne
The May-Stringer House is a historic building in Brooksville, Florida, United States. It is located at 601 Museum Court. On March 8, 1997, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It is home to the May-Stringer Heritage Museum.
May-Stringer Heritage Museum

The May-Stringer Heritage Museum, also known as the Hernando Heritage Museum, is located at the May-Stringer House. It contains over 10,000 artifacts in the War Room with items from the American Civil War to the Vietnam War, The Doctorís Officer with vintage medical items, Kitchen and other Living Area with antique household items, and the School Room which replicates an old school.

The compassionate friends mission is to assist families in the positive resolution of grief following
the death of a child and to provide information and education to help others be supportive.
We are a national nonprofit, self-help organization with almost 600 local chapters.

The Living Memories Garden

In 1993, our chapter received permission to build our Living Memories Garden behind 
the Heritage Museum in Brooksville.   It is a beautifully landscaped setting with marble benches.
Each bench holds the names of our children that have died.   Parents make a donation to put their childís
name on a bench.   This donation helps pay to keep our garden beautiful.
Please contact our chapter for more information on our garden. It was created in memory of our children.


Diane Snider died and the Spring Hill Chapter was abruptly disbanded. Over the years, the garden has fallen into some disrepair. The May Stringer Heritage Museum didn't have the funds to hire a full time gardener/keeper. One of their volunteer docents, Sheila Turbet became a member of the Brooksville Garden Club and brought forth her request that the Garden Club take over the maintenance of the Living Memories Garden.

The Start

First refurbishing Midway The Finished
Our Garden Club President, Louise Allen met with the Heritage Museum officials and put forth her proposal that the Brooksville Garden Club take over maintenance of the Living Memorials Garden. Louise's proposal was approved and we were given guidelines which we had to follow.
Louise appointed Ronette Snyder, fellow Garden Club member to be Project Manager for the Living Memorial Garden rehab.

With great passion for the cause, Ronette threw herself into the project with all the zeal of a St. Bernard carrying her flask to save the fallen. She gathered around her a "garden of angels" who donated money, soil, mulch and lots of back-breaking work to get the rehab project off the ground.

Ronette has scheduled work days for her "worker bees" on every Thursday through February and to have the project completed by Heritage Day on February 18.

After completion of the rehabilitation, the Brooksville Garden Club will provide a one-day, once a month, maintenance call to keep the garden in tip-top shape.

Ronette has overseen every work day and the garden's progress is looking phenomenal. Ronette and her "angels" deserve a big thank you and a hearty pat on the back.

The Living Memorials Garden is filled with benches engraved with the names of deceased children. Those benches were donated by Brewster Funeral Home and the engravings were paid for by donations made by the parents of all the children whose names were engraved upon the memorials.
The stone benches along with the sidewalks and gazebo were power-washed by one of Ronette's "Power Couples,"  Sharon Balser and husband, and then Beverly Lewis and her friend, Norma Jean took on the task of repainting the newly cleaned gazebo.

(click for larger image)

From Ronette's notes:

Just a quick update about our Thursday AM work day with our Garden Club Volunteers. Beginning at 9 AM and lasting until around NOON, 19 members (IF they ALL signed my Volunteer Sheet) showed up with their assorted tools. Connie Hopkins met me with her contributions of Bromeliads from her gardens to plant in that future new garden site. Connie also took photos during the mornings of various workers doing their garden work. She mentioned she would communicate with Linda about her photo taking results. We found 3 bags of top soil (donated) at the new Bromeliads garden site.
Then, my next surprise was when Robin showed up with 10 bags of top soil and 2 cow manure for us to eventually work into the new large garden site where the Mexican petunias were removed Wednesday. Eleanor and George Marholin "co-captain" the new garden site with garden rakes, shovels and hoes to remove the surface roots, weeds and break up the soil with the fallen leaves to eventually be included with the new 'top soil compost mix." Jill Graddy, Brenda Burke, Becky Evens and Connie worked along side to create the New Garden Site for future Thursday plantings. I am so amazed with their results, really hard labor if I must say so myself. Jill did a great job weeding the present azaleas, mixing the new mix around their roots. ALL extra leaves were placed in water pool to begin future site of split leaf philodendron, TO BE donated from Sherry Pedonesi gardens..
Eileen Heller, Judy Boucher were assigned weeding and cleaning up the Lirope along the walkways to the right, and transplanting the matching variegated liropes that were still in prepared bromeliad garden. Using these to fill in empty, bare spots of like plants. Connie Harvey also weeded gardens and uprooted sucker nandinias.
Beverly Lewis and N.J. Rawson arrived with the new cedar red PAINT from Lowes. What a nice difference the red paint makes for the Gazebo.
The "artists" arrived to evaluate signage ( I made a "temporary one" from a wood board I found just waiting for me Wednesday, behind Museum's shed, Linda's logo copy and my computer's FONT) Lois Bendheim, Collette Bortolin reviewed flat rocks with Sherry Pedonesi for the identification of existing plants.
Linda Westrich took photos of our Volunteer workers doing assorted duties but then I saw her uprooting those pesky sucker nandinias which are all over the ground where the parent plants are located. Back breaking work, I am so amazed at the energy of OUR MEMBERSHIP! Mary Fait arrived and eventually swept all walkways when the work day was complete. Iris Aviles arrived right before I had to leave for our first Library Book Discussion (Still Life) on Thursdays at 11:00 AM. ( I will NOT be scheduling a Garden Club Volunteer Work Day on the 3rd Thursday of any month after February 18th.) She finished up my Volunteer "To Do" scheduled GOALS for January 19, 2012. Iris weeded the Sago Palm area and prepared garden space for future Leather Head Ferns (which John K. does NOT recommend) or future site for St Joseph Lily when Easter/Spring comes around????

John Korycki was a delight, a SURPRISE and a wonderful help to all of us. He walked around with me, giving his expert advice about what we were doing, affirmed the thoughts of grouping like plants together rather having the lirope strung all over the gardens, creating the new gardens of bromeliads, and what we could add in the future site (large garden). He agreed about the removal of the three crepe myrtle trees and TWO Dogwood (small) trees. Both do not look healthy, needing more light and NEVER plant three so close together. We can keep the larger one, FEED it with OSMOCOTE (Smart Release Plant food) in MARCH. He recommends this product twice a year. He understands it is expensive but it will work the best for us, saving $$ in the long run. This will be the product I will request from Lowes and WalMart. He shared that he will be willing to remove such trees we discussed (and all with orange ribbons) after his work day in the city. Since he is already here and we have city refuse pick up, he can use his car (no need for his truck to take away debris) and will only charge for his hours of labor. I have received $$ donations for labor so I hired him on the spot. I think he will begin tree removal next week.
John met with Sherry Pedonesi and discussed his thoughts about plantings in the "water pool" which is why we are NOW considering the split leaf philodendrons. He also discouraged any more Fern plantings UNLESS they are NATIVE FLORIDA PLANTS. He liked the idea of the mini camellias on outside with Raphus Palms in center. I was given the name SANSENQUA Camellias from John and Sherry mentioned a small camellia called Shi-Shi-Gashra. We will need to purchase these from Nursery growers/importers. My "Blanket" request letter is to be used (and tax-exempt certificate) with her nurseryman and The Secret Garden Nursery.
NOW THE SURPRISE...John was very impressed with the "best kept secret in Brooksville" Memories Garden. He did NOT know of it's existence. He was impressed when I said I/WE wanted it to be a "learning garden" for children and parents who walk through with ID markers for the trees and plants. HE told Lois and Collette that IF we keep to the NATIVE PLANT theme, (he will forgive the Compassionate Friends placement of Nandinias and the Boston Fern) and we can keep introducing plants that are hearty to Brooksville temps, dry conditions hearty he would like to use THIS garden as HIS "teaching example" and therefore, he has $$$ to make the required ID markers. Louise, I am sure you will want to get in conversation with him.

Sincerely, Ronette Snyder project Co-ordinator.


The Start




This is one view of the garden before the "worker bees" got started. Below is some snapshots that correspond with Ronette's notes above.
(Click on the thumbnails below and get a larger image)





Eleanor and George Marholin, And Becky Evans Becky Evans and Judy Boucher. Eileen Heller and Connie Harvey John Korycki, Sherry Pedonesi, Lois Bendheim, Collette Bortolin and Jill Graddy
  Mary Fait Sherry  
You can already see a renewed freshness to the whole garden area.

The Start




A decision was made to fill in the neglected pond and make it a split philodendron garden that unlike the pond, will require minimal maintenance.

the Start




You can see the progress as the pond is slowly filled with dirt and mulch.
Below are some work in progress photos
The cleaned out main section The New Bromeliad Area The Lirope section Overview of the main entrance
To be sure...this is a work in Progress.
I am doing a quickie "call down" of the Worker Bees this afternoon.  Bromeliads that have been donated so far ARE PLANTED, that NEW GARDEN looks amazing.  Manly Men work crew removed Boston Ferns to prepare "Walking Iris" New Garden Tuesday and Wednesday (today).  NOW we need donations of such mentioned plants to plant on Thursdays.  John K. removed all the small TREES that were NOT thriving due to lack of SUN.  So, that garden (new) will be available for my Red Velvet Gingers which I am donating from MY Garden on February 16th. Large pot of Stove Pipe Fern was donated from Museum and look great between the two Sago Palms.  Small MONDO Grass was from my garden to be planted tomorrow and we could use more from our membership.  Can't wait for you all to see what has been accomplished in just two weeks.  

More later, Ronette

Norma Jean Rawson Bev Lewis George & Eleanor M. Lois B. Dee Zelenka  
Eileen Heller and Connie Harvey Becky Johnson Sherry Pedonesi   Rich Stratton  
May-Stringer House History & Legend

(taken from exerpts on the world wide web)

The May Stringer House in Brooksville-FL Is a

Historic Haunted House


Posted on October 23, 2011 at 5:00 am

Toni Weidman.....Toni Weidman-Re/Max Sunset Realty


Known as one of the most haunted sites in Florida, the May Stringer House in Brooksville, Florida has a Halloween Fest on Oct 28 & 29, 7 p.m.-11 p.m. To make plans to attend the Haunted House, call 352-799-0129 or go to their website for more information: May Stringer House   

The 160-acre site was deeded in 1843 to Richard Wiggins as part of the Armed Occupation Act. John May bought the property in 1855 and donated 15 acres to the county to be used as the county seat. 

The 12-room, four-story home was built in 1856 as a two-story, four-room home, and was remodeled in the early 1900s to its present Queen Ann, 7-gable style.

The May family lived in the home for several years, John May died in 1858 and his wife remarried several years later. She died in 1869, giving birth to Jessie May. Jessie died a few years later. It is said that some have heard the child crying for her mother. Both are buried on the grounds of the museum at an unmarked site.

Later acquired by Dr. Sheldon Stringer family sold it to the county to be used as a museum. The May Stringer House is on the National Registry of Historic Places.

The Museum is a non-profit organization and depends on donations and itís wonderful volunteers to stay open and maintain itís many (over 10,000) artifacts. Itís located at 601 Museum Ct., Brooksville, FL 34601


Want to read more about the May-Stringer Ghost legend...the Times  did an article on the historic home.

For the Tampa Times article...click on......Ghosts are waiting




This site was last updated 03/09/12