February 16

Gardiner group recruiting gardeners to tend public plots

Volunteers are needed to adopt flower gardens in the downtown to help keep them looking good.

By Paul Koenig pkoenig@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

Gardiner Main Street is seeking volunteers to help maintain the small, public gardens throughout the city.

The group of volunteers, formed by members of the downtown revitalization group’s design committee, are meeting for the first time at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the archives rooms of the Gardiner Public Library.

The group has identified 15 public gardens, mostly in the downtown and Waterfront Park, for volunteers to care for come springtime. Many of the gardens have flowers or other non-edible plants.

One of the volunteers spearheading the effort, Dorothy Washburn, of Gardiner, said the group is looking for people to adopt a plot and be responsible for weeding, pruning, fertilizing and maintaining it on their own time. Some may require more than one person, she said.

“If it ever stops snowing and it warms up and things begin to green up, we’ll take a walking tour down to these various gardens,” Washburn said.

She said it would be nice to expand the gardens eventually, but in the first year they just want to get the gardens in better shape.

The group, called Gardiner’s Gardeners, is also being led by Gardiner resident Robert Abbey, another member of the Gardiner Main Street committee.

The executive director of Gardiner Main Street, Patrick Wright, said the group is submitting a proposal for $1,500 in grant funding through the Heart & Soul community-planning project.

Wright said the garden project is part of a beautification effort to make the city look better.

“It gives us another point of pride, also, where volunteers and individuals can feel like they’re making a difference in the city, too, and I think that’s especially important during the budget times we’re in,” he said.

So far, Washburn said they’ve received enthusiastic responses about the idea.

“We’re just optimistic that by the end of summer, these gardens are going to be beautiful again,” she said.

Paul Koenig — 207-621-5663 pkoenig@centralmaine.com Twitter: @paul_koenig
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