When Leary Gorman saw “Adopt a Garden” in his neighborhood park last summer, he leapt on it, the first to officially adopt a garden through Town Arborist Carl Meinecke’s 1-year-old program.
“I was working at the time, driving by every day, and it was a mess. This is right by our home,” he said, “and I thought, ‘I could do this.’”
Gorman’s neighborhood is tightly knit and several of the neighbors share a love of gardening and entertaining. Gorman’s bed surrounds the Gianinetti Park sign, only a block away. Walking a bit further to get his hands into yet another garden, especially one that book-ends his daily jaunts, is worth it to him.
He spent last summer getting to know this “organism” so close to him — a garden, yes, but also a complex, alive, mini ecosystem, home to familiar flowers and plants, host to a variety of creatures. Gorman wasn’t able to dive in as much as he had hoped last summer, but ideas germinated through the winter and he looks forward to making a difference this year.
Meinecke was a landscape technician prior to being promoted to town arborist. He tended the various landscape beds in parks and along Main Street. He knows each one intimately, and grew to truly care for them.
Plants have died or need to be divided. Turf grass has invaded from nearby. Opportunistic greenery squats in the empty spaces between remaining plants. Mulch has decomposed or gotten thin, allowing for more enemy attacks. Without the budget or employee capacity to give garden beds the true love they need, Meinecke invites the can-do-it spirit and creativity of Bonedale to have at it.
“We have knowledgeable and passionate community members, groups and businesses that value the beautification of our town’s public spaces,”Meinecke shared. “I listened to what has happened in the past, observed what community members are doing currently and researched other similar communities’ programs to develop our current program. My goal is to have all areas adopted and maintain the relationships for many years, and to learn from the process together.”
Many years ago, Erin Rigney of Rainy Day Designs pitched “Adopt a Pot” to community business leader, Chris Chacos, founder of the Village Smithy. It became wildly popular. Aly Sanguily, doyenne of Main Street, formerly of Batch Provisions and now KDNK development director, took the reins two or three years ago, herding cats each spring as plant lovers and businesses vied to keep their pot, or snag a rare available one.
Everything about the pots is a gift to the rest of us: volunteers design, purchase and plant them by Memorial Weekend. Public Works waters them all summer. The cheeky competition is stiff and Main Street comes alive through these privately funded, nurtured explosions of style and color.
“Adopt a Garden” strives to grow that success further, inviting the spirit of creativity to yet another social crossroads — town parks. (This is like the railroad giving taggers a thumbs-up on graffiti!)
There are only five gardens in the program this year. Aspen Tree Services General Manager Jen Grimes, a gardener in her downtime, has adopted the marble memorial at Miner’s Park. It has been swallowed and spit out by the vagaries of Time. Grimes and Meinecke will bounce ideas to bring life back to a cherished landmark in our town story. (Zolpidem)
Carbondale’s Bee Friendly initiative — to be introduced in depth in a future story — has dibs on a third garden flanking a bridge over the ditch at Sopris Park.
“One of the most intimate ways to connect with a place is to cultivate a connection with the earth, the plants, the landscapes,” said Environmental Board Chair Hannah-Hunt Moeller. “Participating with ‘Adopt a Garden’ allows us to literally dig into a garden in the heart of our town. This is a way to steward and support, while also being a springboard for education about native plants, pollinator food webs and low-water plantings. The E-Board subcommittee, Bee Friendly, is thrilled to partner in this program!”
There’s a renaissance afoot as gardens and Nature find common ground through much needed “ecosystem services.” The trifecta of species collapse, the Colorado River crisis and global warming have non-gardeners seeking ways to save the world, catalyzing a zeitgeist of stewardship. By collaborating with the town and Meinecke on these gardens, citizens have an opportunity to re-envision our built environment and “do” something that makes a difference — every single day. Eschewing turf grass and high-input gardens that have failed through time, what direction will our greenspaces grow? Here’s our chance to experiment!
Contact Meinecke at 970-510-1331 or firstname.lastname@example.org to fill out an application for the two remaining gardens of 2023!
A Subaru is loaded with flowers destined for an “Adopt a Pot” near Town Hall. Photo by Geneviève Villamizar