Another benefit of the gardens

We’ve talked about how wildflower and native plant gardens beautify a neighborhood, reduce maintenance costs, provide a variety of environmental benefits and raise property values. Now the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medical has published a study which shows that “greening” a blighted neighborhood may improve residents’ mental health and decrease the incidence of crime.

You can read a brief article that summarizes the study by clicking this link.

A milestone reached

All the lots have now been seeded — so I guess I can start calling them “gardens” rather than “lots” now. The big garden at Elm and Atlantic has also been “over-seeded” to supplement the plugs and the entire garden has been covered in straw. The winter rye grass seed that was mixed in with the flowers is expected to come up next week and will help protect the gardens this winter.

The Barber Shop is a good way to spot one of the biggest new gardens near the end of Atlantic at the Mahoning terminus.

We have also begun putting in the posts for the dedication signs but my main man Lyle had the nerve to go on vacation this week so will will resume that work when he returns — he has the F-150 and his own post-hole digger.

We also held our first dedication ceremony Monday evening which is reported on in today’s Warren Expressed post. 

First seeded garden

Today was a milestone — we seeded the first garden. The big garden at Elm and Atlantic, you may recall, was planted with plugs (baby plants) while today was our first garden planted just with seeds. The seed mix includes wildflowers, native grasses, and a winter rye grass that will provide cover and protection for the other seeds over the winter.

This first seeded garden is located directly opposite the north end of Mollenkopf Stadium. It is a double lot and will be dedicated to Don Campbell and Bill Schumacher this coming Monday evening by several of their Panther teammates of yesteryear.

We also began installing 4 x 4 posts in the gardens which will soon support the dedication placards. Wild Buncher Lyle lent his truck, post hole digger, spud bar and strong back to the project and he and I sent yesterday digging holes and planting posts. That’s probably the first honest day’s work I’ve done in 35 years.

The pace of seeding will be picking up briskly next week. Watch for the Davey trucks and the specialized drill seeder they use that is custom-designed for planting native seeds. I’ve attached a few photos from today’s efforts.

The latest word

Below is the latest plan for planting directly from our friend Dave Riddell at Davey Tree.

“The lots will be mowed in the next two weeks to prepare them for the seed installation.  The existing vegetation will be mowed as low to the ground as possible to allow the native seed drill to cut into the soil.  The seed installation will occur in late October or early November.  The exact timing of the installation will be determined by the weather.  The weather needs to remain cool enough so as to not encourage the native seeds to germinate this season.  The sites also need to be dry enough to allow the equipment access.  A cover crop of winter rye will be seeded along with the native seed.  The winter rye will germinate this season to ensure site stability over the winter months.  The winter rye will also help deter undesirable weeds from growing before the native seed germinates in 2013.”

The plan, especially the planting date, has changed several times over the past couple of months but only in response to changing conditions and the weather. We could have forced the seed planing sooner but long-term success has been our guiding principle. We encourage you to ask questions if you have them. We have experts who are happy to respond.

Thank you Poulos Family

The newest gregg’s garden patrons are Drew Poulos and Stephanie Poulos Gabbard, who are funding a garden and dedicating it to their grandparents, Andrew and Mary Poulos, and their father Frank Poulos (right). Andrew was a well-known Warren business owner, Mary a local businesswoman ahead of her time, and their son Frank was a Warren Fire Department Captain.

Frank’s children grew up in the rich Warren environment; one became a doctor (Drew) and the other a teacher of languages (Stephanie). Stephanie is also a highly-valued gregg’s garden volunteer (a member of the Wild Bunch) and the author of the lovely tribute to her dad and grandparents that can be found in the “Gardens” section.

Each of us has a story to tell and we are lucky and grateful that Drew and Stephanie chose to share their family’s story through a generous donation to gregg’s garden. Thank you both.