BRISTOL — Anyone who has ever admired the dahlia garden at Bonneyville Mill County Park has experienced the dedication of McQuithy “Mac” Boyer.

The Friends of the Elkhart County Parks recently honored Boyer’s dedication to the Elkhart County Parks when they placed an etched stone at the dahlia garden. Boyer was involved with the Friends of the Elkhart County Parks board until retiring as its treasurer in 2018. He assisted with many events and projects over the past several decades.

Boyer’s volunteer efforts began prior to his involvement with the Friends group. He first volunteered with the Elkhart County Parks in the late 1980s. He was a member of the Elkhart Dahlia Society and they were seeking a site for a public garden. He approached the Elkhart County Park and Recreation Board, which granted him permission to grow the annual flowers at the park. Several years later, the garden became an American Dahlia Society Trial Garden.

Today, Bonneyville Mill hosts one of eight Dahlia Trial Gardens found in North American to test new hybridizations of dahlia cultivars. These gardens are generally located in parks and gardens where the general public can visit and watch the dahlias grow and bloom. Boyer and another Elkhart Dahlia Society member, Steve Kuiper, spend all summer monitoring, measuring and collecting data on each plant.

“The Elkhart County Parks is honored to have such a humble and dedicated volunteer,” director Ronda DeCaire said. “Mac has enhanced the beauty of the Mill valley with the Dahlia Trial Garden for several decades and truly deserves this recognition from the Friends of the Elkhart County Parks.”

Bonneyville Mill is a 222-acre county park featuring gently rolling hills, woodlands, marshes and open meadows. It is located at 53373 C.R. 131, Bristol. More information is available at elkhartcountyparks.org or 574-535-6458.

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