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  • Caroline Abbott


Here is the flower bed in the community garden at the end of the summer season 2022. Starting in September 2022, a group of Otsego High School kids from the RISE classroom began coming out to help me twice a week to transform this bed. They dug weeds, they dug plants, they dug dirt and they dug mulch! They sweated and learned about different types of plants, how they grow and how to plant them. After removing all the good plants, we put the hostas in pots and offered them free to whomever wanted them. Those all disappeared. Then we dug out lilies, strawberries, irises and oregano. We put them in pots or on our "save" tarp. Then the hard work began. Most of the bed was full of invasive grass that had roots a foot down and twined into the cement surrounding the bed. It was important to completely dig it out and get as much of the root pieces as possible so it doesn't come back. One day I had a couple stop by and offer to dig for me while I took a lunch break! Finally that part was complete. I had three tarp loads of just roots that I dumped in the compost pile. I am hoping they are dead and won't invade the rest of the garden. I will make sure in the spring before we use any of that compost.

The next step was to re-plant the bed. One of our gardeners had some nice perennial herbs - lavender, thyme and oregano in her bed. She graciously allowed me to transplant those into the bed. We had also created two planters, one in the center of the flower bed, and the other on the cement pad in the sidewalk on the other side of the garden. We put oregano in those because it spreads too much. We also put the garlic chives and parsley in those. We put the lavender and thyme in the flower bed. Then we re-planted strawberries around the perimeter. After that we put the irises back around the center. Then we planted the lilies between the lavender. We also added daffodils and crocuses to finish it off. When that was complete, we mulched the entire bed. The extra bulbs from the irises and lilies, we planted around the rectory house. We also planted some extra oregano and one of the plants rescued from the flower bed over there. We then mulched around the house.

Here is the finished product!

I told the students it was like burying treasure, in the spring all those dead bulbs will come up and we will get bloom from late March into early summer from the bulbs and then the rest of the season from the herbs. We should get strawberries as well. Spring will tell what survives, but we can add more plants as we see fit now that the invasive grass is out. We will have to keep on top of it to make sure it stays clean, but that will be easier now that we have completely cleaned it out.

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