Palm Coast - It took 156 plants, 4 crepe myrtle trees and 20 bags of mulch to connect the city's younger people with older residents and everyone else in between.

And it all began with Philip Cangialosi, an Eagle Scout candidate from the local Troop 402, who envisioned the creation of a lovelier layout to embellish the front of the Palm Coast Historical Society in Holland Park. While working on a scout project in Holland Park, Philip and his mom, Helene, came to Holland Park and noticed the stark-looking Historical Society site with its turtle Garfield (one of the Palm Coast Arts Foundation's magnificent trail turtles) sitting unadorned at the entrance of the building. Wanting to make a difference in Palm Coast, Philip approached Society Vice President Kathy Reichard-Ellavsky and offered to design and plant at the property, free of charge. Kathy was thrilled with the idea and coordinated help from The Garden Club at Palm Coast and our city staff to support Philip with his plan.

"Philip and his project were simply serendipity," Reichard-Ellavsky said. "Our members always visualized a garden at the front of our building but we didn't have the funds to craft our vision. This young man was the answer to our prayers."

Kathy was able to contact The Garden Club at Palm Coast via social media.  President Carol Walker and Director of Propagation Jane Villa-Lobos had previously worked with Philip and had recognized his passion dedication, so they recommended he apply for a $500 scholarship sponsored by their club. Once he was approved, he completed the entire entrance design for exactly where to plant lavender, dwarf mondo grass, coreopsis, firecrackers, Mexican heather and crepe myrtle - all attracting hummingbirds and butterflies. He purchased the plants locally (also using donations from individual residents), and Garden Club members helped deliver them and helped advise him on transplanting methods.

Parks and Recreation staff took part in this project by installing an irrigation system and providing tools and manual support that was needed. They'll also assist with maintaining the plantings. "When we were approached to help with this project, we literally jumped at the chance," Parks and Recreation Director Lauren Johnston recalled. "Our city's landscape architect and our parks maintenance crew were honored to participate in a community-wide grassroots effort to bring lasting beauty to Holland Park."

Everything came together the morning of Oct. 10 when Scout Troop 402 and Cub Scout Pack 402 were joined by Matanzas High School Key Club members, The Garden Club at Palm Coast, city parks maintenance staff and historical society representatives to start digging and arranging. Philip sprinted from one side of the garden to the other, offering advice and delivering supplies. "I'm so excited to see everyone come together and to bring such important attention to the Palm Coast Historical Society," he said. "We're most likely to succeed when we collaborate together as a team."

It not only looks beautiful, but it made all who participated feel beautiful, too.  Especially Philip.

(NOTE: The Palm Coast Historical Society will host an event to celebrate Palm Coast's 50th Anniversary on Saturday, Oct. 24 at 1 p.m. at the Palm Coast Community Center. Register to attend at https://secure.rec1.com/FL/palm-coast-fl/catalog).