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Room to grow

Cedar Crest community gardens get some TLC

Created date

June 28th, 2016
The community gardens at Cedar Crest

The community gardens at Cedar Crest have always been a treasured place on campus for gardeners and nongardeners alike.

Cedar Crest’s community gardens have always been a treasured place on campus for gardeners and nongardeners alike. From April to September, passersby can enjoy a colorful, fragrant landscape of annuals, perennials, and edibles. 

“[Garden club] members give of their time to create areas that have a variety of vegetables and beautiful areas of plants and flowers of all kinds. Residents come by to view and enjoy the beauty,” club member Karnig Thomasian wrote in a notice to club members. “I know for myself, the prospect of having a place to grow vegetables was one of many plusses that helped me to decide to come here.”

This season, visitors and community members will notice some changes to the area, which is home to 110 eight- by eight-foot garden beds, both raised and ground-level.

Shedding new light

Recently, Karnig undertook a project to overhaul the tool shed and make other improvements to the community space, including a fence to ward off animals like deer and rabbits. 

“The shed was there, but it was in such disarray. I had an idea of how to shape it up. I had a sketch of what I would do and asked for help from one or two men in the garden club,” Karnig says.

Together, Karnig and his volunteers Ron Paliaga, Jim Hein, and Alex Amend stripped the interior of the shed to the bare wood inside. They installed shelves, provided by Project Manager Richard Ferguson, and tubs where club members could store their personal small tools. They painted the shed’s interior and the shelves white.

The shed also stores shared club tools—larger ones like shovels, rakes, and hoes. 

“The whole idea of the shed was to give people access to the tools, and if they have their own tools they could keep them in a bin,” Karnig explains.

With the shed now organized, club members can easily find and access the right tool for the job. 

“Karnig did a great job organizing the shed, and we were just so happy with it all,” says garden club president Edith Dombal.

On the fence

Karnig has also been working with General Services Manager Ted Thiessen to have a fence installed around the perimeter of the garden area facing the road.

At 6 to 7 feet tall, the proposed fence will be high enough to deter deer from jumping over it, and it will have wire along the bottom of its stockade for rabbit control.

Made of black or cedar wood posts, it will remain an aesthetically pleasing fixture while allowing passersby to enjoy the beauty of the gardens.

“We all enjoy the beauty of the gardens and the work that each individual does to maintain that beauty,” says Karnig. “So we requested a translucent fence to keep the beauty visible.”

Bountiful harvest

“The garden improvements have everyone thinking spring and excited for the season,” Thiessen says.

As president of the garden club, Dombal keeps track of who cares for each square. She also plans monthly events throughout the growing season. This month, they will visit Laurelwood Arboretum in nearby Wayne.

The 30-acre botanically diverse property features woodland trails and gardens; wildlife; two ponds; streams; and hundreds of varieties of rhododendrons, azaleas, and other unusual species of plants and trees.

Visitors can meander along gravel paths that wind through the arboretum. It’s an ideal day trip for Cedar Crest’s gardeners, as well as birdwatchers, artists, and photographers. 

The April and June events have speakers presenting on a gardening topic, and in August, the club enjoys an end-of-season party. “Everybody brings whatever they’ve grown in their garden,” Edith says.

“We find that many people don’t want the burden of home maintenance and even a big garden, but they still have that green thumb. Gardening is a lifelong passion,” says Cedar Crest Sales Counselor Ruth Phillips. “Our community gardens are just the right size, and knowing they don’t have to give up gardening altogether is a big incentive to someone considering a move to Cedar Crest.”

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