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Old 03-28-2011, 11:02 PM   #1
Salamander
 
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Default It's crazy but it might just...

not work?

Ok, so I had an idea.
Brace yourselves.

I live adjacent to a large park, and they seem to be having trouble maintaining it.

My idea was that, if permitted, I would try to organize a group that would take over the planting of a small area currently unkempt. If this worked out, then maybe next year it could be done on a larger scale.

The idea would be I would somehow coordinate a group, gather names / times etc, and put it to the town that (if they provided us with seed) we would look after an area. They provide the plants, we look after everything else. I would sell the idea telling people it's a "butterfly" garden, as people tend to get squeamish about any other type of arthropod harshing their buzz.

Is that a non starter? Has anyone heard of anything like this before? I know that some sort of thing goes on like this in Manhattan, but I am not sure if it's communal land.
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Old 03-29-2011, 12:33 AM   #2
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Great idea!
But don't other places let civic groups normally help out?

Here's an example of community involvement from a town near mine:
Welcome to The City of Town and Country Parks Home Page!
Click on"Mason Ridge Garden Club"

From their website:
Quote:
We have seventeen members with varying degrees of expertise. Some members have been gardening for a short while, some have been digging in the dirt for a few years, and we have seven Master Gardeners. We tour each others gardens, we have craft projects, go on garden-related field trips and are working on our biggest project to date-renovating the gardens at Longview Farm, a park in Town & Country, Missouri.
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Old 03-29-2011, 03:25 AM   #3
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It certainly is possible and there might even be a group of friends of the park already in place you can work with. After finding out who is responsible for the park and getting permission you can get lots of help and volunteers through the local garden club, master gardeners or the local NJ native plant society.
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Old 03-29-2011, 10:51 AM   #4
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An excellent idea. The park district in Chicago took a big fund cut and lost many employees. So I'm thinking many towns and cities have the same problem. If we don't want to lose the parks and nature centers stepping up and helping out is a good option.
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Old 03-29-2011, 11:15 AM   #5
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I thought I should mention a few things to consider before taking on such a wonderful community minded project.

Seems....Everyone wants to get in on the planting, Taking the credit, saying I helped create that. Isn't it gorgeous!
Before long....The weeds and or grass start to fill in the voids.
Then.... Either no one has the time, doesn't know which is a weed or not or figures they've done their part let someone else take over.

What I'm trying to say is....Unless you have a VERY dedicated group, things go awry real quick and as you say...
they are having trouble maintaining it as it was...You certainly don't want it to become an even a LARGER eye sore in the future.

Before you begin one MUST have the future volunteers all lined up raring to go as well!
As far as getting the city to buy the seeds and plants....Let's hope there is a like minded person in the group that can persuade them into spending a bit on the beatification project. If you are lucky enough to have such a person, perhaps they'd like to be included in drawing up the plans, organizing, buying etc....

Now....If they ARE willing to donate.
Its best to first see if they have the knowledge and skills needed as to what grows in this type of soil, this hot sunny spot, this cool shady area, which plants grow tall which stay short so things do not go all out of whack over powering one another or just plain and simple...Dieing because of improper sight conditions.... If not, Ask them for the money stating that either you or another are well versed in the field and should have no problem in choosing the correct natives etc...etc...to give them the best bang for their buck so to speak.

If they cannot donate but WOULD like to see the project go ahead....
Advertise for plant donations... in the paper, on the radio, at your church.. You will be surprised how many calls you get.
People really enjoy bringing others to the area to show them THEIR plants.
Go to the plant sales and tell them of your ongoing project. Do not be afraid to ask them what they intend upon doing with their leftover plants... Many are all to happy to donate to the cause.

There's A LOT to think about before you swing that bat.
Once you swing it you must follow through.

I wish you the very very best should you decide to take on a project of this magnitude.
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Old 03-29-2011, 11:32 AM   #6
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havalotta raises some good points. Do your homework.
But it is not as daunting as it sounds. Many Friends Of groups exist across the country. Some volunteers move on , others join in after they see results. One person or a group such as Master Gardeners can help keep the ball rolling. It is a very doable project.
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Old 03-29-2011, 11:53 AM   #7
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I see what you are saying havalotta.
At the moment I am thinking of taking on one single bed. There was nothing in it last year, and it ran a bit rampant. Then at the end of the summer a crew came and cut the brush down. Now it's pretty much as bad as could be, ie even if I did something and realized I was out of my depth, it would still be better than what is there now.
In that respect I feel OK.

Regarding everything else, it's a bit of an unknown. I will have to feel things out with The Powers That Be to see if they are even vaguely interested.
If they are, then I would definitely try to weasel some money out of them for plants / seed. I like the advertisement idea. I could even put a little plaque in the corner saying thanks maybe.

Getting the people lined up would have to follow permission I guess.

Hmm. I was up last night thinking about this

I guess this is what happens when programmer's companies run out of money and lay off their staff!
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Old 03-29-2011, 01:13 PM   #8
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I hope I did not ruin your desire to take on such a worth while project.
Just me blurting out the whatevers I've ran across in dealing with projects of the sort.
Starting on the small one is a good idea. See how you do at recruiting people in that area before moving onto bigger things.
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Old 03-29-2011, 04:31 PM   #9
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philip, I think it is a great idea...I'm sure you can do something great with it...but, I too, share some of havalotta's concerns. Here are a few of my own:

Do you plan to keep it a native plant garden (of course, I think you should!)? If so, when asking for donations you may get many things that are not native or not appropriate for a butterfly garden. Even getting volunteers, they may be insistent on bringing/donating some of their favorite (or most abundant--read *invasive*) plants.

Aside from those concerns, I think that you are better off getting plants instead of starting from seed. There is more of an impact that way--and most perennials require at least two years before they will bloom.

I love the idea of getting donations from native plant sales/nurseries--even from local volunteers--*assuming* they *have* natives to share.

Please don't give up on the project/idea--it sounds great. Just try to avoid the potential problems *before* they arise.
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Old 03-29-2011, 07:06 PM   #10
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Yup. Native all the way. That would be the philosophy behind the whole thing.

Basically the idea would be I would take on a project that I could do probably completely alone. Then, if others decided to join I would welcome them. As they joined I would indoctrinate into them this native plants propaganda then they could take on bits and pieces of the original bed.

If it worked out, then I would consider making it bigger, though I will probably be working again next year and have less time.

I'll have to work out this idea of getting donations. I was hoping for some sort of money to buy up seed with, and then try sowing this into the ground. But if plants could be obtained...
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