The Westport Center for Senior Activities hosted a party Thursday in celebration of its new garden, which will grow vegetables for the center's kitchen and flowers for the dining room.

According to Director Susan Pfister, plans for a garden were put into motion after a representative from the Westport Green Village Initiative hosted a seminar at the center.

"A member from GVI explained what it was about, and there was a lot of interest from those who attended the seminar," Pfister said.

Pfister described the process of creating the garden as collaborative, smooth and energetic.

"It turned out to be one of the more remarkable projects that I've been involved with," she said.

GVI was responsible for funding, designing, constructing and planting the new garden, which so far is growing tomatoes, basil, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, watermelon and other fruits and vegetables, according to GVI co-founder Monique Bosch.

"We put a garden at the high school, and we've been expanding the community gardens, so this was a natural place to also have an edible garden," said Bosch, who founded GVI with Chairman Dan Levinson. "The center was very supportive, the members were very excited about having their own garden, and they've already formed a garden club."

According to Pfister, this garden club will be a mix of seniors and garden professionals who take responsibility for the garden.

"We hope that the project will grow into an intergenerational activity," she said.

Pfister said she thinks the new garden is "fabulous."

"I park next to it every morning. To see how the tomatoes have grown the past few weeks is so inspirational," she said.

Barbara Butler, human services director for the town of Westport, also praised the new garden.

"I love it -- I love the concept of having a garden at the center, and I love the combination of flowers and vegetables. The design is so pretty."

This sentiment was echoed by Westporter Sandy Johnson, who said she came to the party after reading about it in the paper and being told about it by a friend who belongs to the center.

"I come on all the occasions," said Johnson. "The garden is really pretty."

Also in attendance were students of the painting class held every Thursday at the center, taught by Darraugh Louise Cianfichi. Cianfichi decided to hold class outside that week so that her students could participate in the festivities.

"This week, we're demonstrating how we enjoy nature and how we use nature," said Cianfichi as she painted flowers onto a fan. Some of the artwork will be sold to help raise funds for the benches and tools still needed for the garden.

"We all work together; it's a team," said Cianfichi of the collaboration between various groups within the center when it came to helping out with the new garden.

According to program specialist Lisa Marriott, artists at the center crafted artwork on canvasses supplied by local artist Barbara Lawless, which will be used to create a mural comprised of a donor wall with the garden-themed artwork surrounding the names.

Pfister said she was thrilled with the turnout at Thursday's gathering.

"It's so nice to see so many people here," she said. "It gives me a real community spirit which makes Westport so special."