A lot going on

pWow, it’s been several weeks since I posted, which is too long a gap. First I was on vacation, then I got sick, then the dog ate my homework, then….well, anyway, I’m back and there is a lot to tell. I’m going to break it up over a couple of days so check back later this week.

First, we have a great new package of photos with the best representation to date of what we are planting in gregg’s gardens (that is Rough Blazingstar above). They were supplied to us by Ohio Prairie Nursery which supplies us with seeds. I’m especially fond of the native grasses — Little Bluestem (below) and Nodding Wild Rye.

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Part of the reason we haven’t written much is that we have been very busy selecting and prepping the next group of garden lots in the Garden District. We are working on killing weeds in about 30 lots now, including the walking path on the old railroad right-of-way that runs between Belmont and Elm Road; this is going to be a very charming addition to the neighborhood once the flowers and grasses mature.

If you haven’t yet, take a drive by the Elm and Atlantic lot; park and walk around it if you can in order to really appreciate how beautiful these flowers and grasses are. This lot was planted with plugs so it has a one-year head start on the other gardens which we seeded. The seeded lots should look like this by this time next year. You may have noticed also that the rye grass in the seeded lots has been cut down and removed per the plan.

Check back later this week for an funding update and news about other gg projects underway.

They ain’t weeds

ryeThe tall grasses growing in the gardens are not weeds. It is rye grass which is there to protect the wildflower seedlings. It will die in July and will not grow again. Today’s Warren Expressed blog has a more detailed explanation that I hope you will read. We need as many people as possible to understand and explain it to others.

a gregg’s garden of your own

NSGM01__92555_zoomWe are happy to announce that our seed providers, Ohio Prairie Nursery of Hiram, Ohio is now selling the special blend of wildflower and native grass seeds we use here in Warren to the general public. You can read the details of what plants are in the mix and the benefits of creating your own urban meadow by visiting the OPN web site.

School days

There has not been much to report the past week which has been filled with completing grant applications — a time-consuming and dreary task but one that has been very fruitful for us in the fund-raising front. I hope to have news on at least one of them soon.

Friday should be more fun as Matt Martin from TNP and I will spend the day at Warren Harding talking to several classes about gregg’s gardens and, we hope, enlisting their participation in the project. We will report back soon.

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We turned the comments feature back on the other day in hopes that the spammers had lost our address, but within 48 hours they returned in full force delivering more than 400 spam comments per day for the past four days. I’m afraid we’re going to have to turn it off again and ask you to leave comments on our Facebook page. Please “friend” us if you haven’t already.

Cost/benefit

Regular followers of gregg’s gardens and our current efforts to create a Garden District will recall that we are trying to raise $50,000 in order to create 100+ wildflower gardens on vacant lots in Warren’s center city. We believe this is a modest sum for a project that has the potential to transform the city.

To put that in perspective, I read in the Tribune this morning that a generous firm has recently donated $50,000 to a non-profit group to extend a bike trail in southern Mahoning County. The money will be used to create an additional 1000 feet of blacktop for the trail.

I’m not saying that is a poor use of money, but I’ll put our project up against it, or anything else in a cost-benefit analysis.

Click to see our Garden District presentation.

Click to donate to the project.

 

 

Where the lots are

I drove the streets of the proposed Garden District yesterday and made the map below. Green dots are the gregg’s gardens planted last fall (only those within the GD) and the red “Xs” are current vacant lots. There are 65 of them. Not ll of the lots can be turned into gardens due to ownership issues, but keep in mind that there are also likely to be 50+ houses torn down in the next year within this area.

November-2012 gg and vacant lots

Join the party

415085-party-time--vectorWell, it’s a virtual party and it’s called Let’s Build a Garden District in Warren. It’s actually a Facebook page where you can see and talk to the other people who are supporting the effort.

If you’d like to support the effort but aren’t a Facebook playa you can donate by sending a check to: Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership 147 West Market Street Warren OH 44481 or via PayPal from the TNP site.

The money game

Well now it all comes down to raising the money to make Warren’s Garden District a reality. Fortunately we have help. First, Jodie Knofsky created a Facebook event which is an easy way to spread the word virally. Just go to the Let’s Build a Garden District page and invite your Facebook friends to join. It is a virtual event and the date will probably change to allow for growth.

Anyone can now easily donate using Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership’s PayPal account. Just be sure that if you do that you use the comment feature on PayPal to indicate that your gift is for gregg’s gardens plus any additional information, for example “For the Classmates of Gregg Snyder Fund.”

$50,000 is a lot of money so we will need to find at least a few people who may be larger donors — in the $5,000 + range. If you have any suggestions for people or businesses that you think might be candidates for that level donation and you are able to facilitate a meeting with them, please send me an email at dennis@warrenexpressed.org and we will arrange a private presentation for them.

The PR machine remains in gear today as I am scheduled to be interviewed by Stan Boney on the channel 33 evening news today at 5:30.