By Mary O’KEEFE
On Saturday, a group of strong girls of today honored a strong woman of the past by planting a garden at Rockhaven. The girls of Girl Scout Troop 2691 from La Crescenta knew they wanted to do some type of gardening for their community project but the question was what to do. Then in stepped Joanna Linkchorst from Friends of Rockhaven. “My daughter and I took a tour of Rockhaven,” said Rita Zobayan, Troop 2691 co-leader. There the girls met Linkchorst and heard about Agnes Richards’ Rockhaven. They heard how this woman in the 1920s opened a place for women with mental illness. On Saturday they were busy planting in front of the property. “We are cleaning up Rockhaven and planting a garden,” said Girl Scout Lucy Rickey, 11. Kasandra Stengel added they were taking out a lot of old plants and replacing them with drought-tolerant ones. “We did research on the plants and on Rockhaven,” she said. “Rockhaven was [a place] for women who were going through [mental illness],” added Nour Shammoa, 11. “Agnes was the founder. It was a happy place for … women.” The girls looked at other places before choosing Rockhaven for their project. “We knew we wanted to plant a garden and looked for good places to plant,” said Ella Summers, 11. “This was a place with a lot of history.” “They made this place more relaxing, where [the women] were not stressed and worried about their problems,” said Elisabeth Goriyan, 11. “[Linkchorst] came to our meeting and showed us the history. [Friends of Rockhaven] are trying to preserve it,” said Charoltte Sing, 12. “The gardens here are different.” When asked if she knew that a woman started Rockhaven in a time when women didn’t normally own these types of businesses, Girl Scout Ellie Heim, 11, said she liked that girls were still taking care of the property. “I think this [garden] will make a difference. We weren’t allowed inside,” she said. The property has fallen into disrepair due to upkeep costs but the city did allow the girls to plant the front area of Rockhaven. “I think the [garden] will show people how beautiful this place is.” Seven-year-old Addy Rickey tags along with the Girl Scout projects with her sister. “I thought it was cool,” she said of the project, “because a woman founded a restful place for women who were stressed out and emotional and needed a place.” Co-leader David Summers said the girls worked hard on deciding where to plant their garden and worked equally hard as they pulled weeds and planted along Rockhaven’s border.