Like the rest of the university, the Division of Continuing Education has learned to be creative when dealing with limited resources. When the division staff learned that facilities could no longer provide the plants or labor for the gardens around College Court Building, they decided to take matters into their own hands.
In May, Suzy Hay, student and faculty services coordinator at the division, organized a group of staff and student employees who dubbed themselves the DCE Green Team. The team volunteered their time and donated plants, mulch, gardening supplies and a lot of elbow grease to make the grounds surrounding the building more beautiful.
"It seemed like a pretty small garden, but we really had no idea how much work we were getting ourselves into," said Hay. "We knew how important the front of our building was to us. It's the entrance to College Court, and we were disappointed at the thought of not having a garden for our staff and visitors to enjoy."
The team came together to clear the garden, plucking each weed or plant out by hand. It was so much work that it took an entire workday. The team planted mostly perennials so that the work in future years would be minimal. Just trimming down in the fall, and then freshening up in the spring.
"At first we thought we would try to keep the plants that were there, but we had no idea what they were, how large they would get, or if we could make a cohesive design out of them," said Hay. "We decided the best thing to do was clear the area and start fresh."
The group cleaned up, planted and cared for the gardens throughout the summer. Lilies, petunias and rose moss dotted the garden this summer. They are continuing their efforts this fall with chrysanthemums, which went in Tuesday, Oct. 5.
Division employees donated the grasses in the back section, as well as the rest of the plants. Hay collected personal donations to purchase the mums going into the garden this fall.
The grasses will remain through the fall and winter. They will be cut down in the spring, and fresh mulch will be spread. The front section will be replanted with annuals. The team hopes to watch their garden grow even bigger next summer.
"I get really excited about our gardening project," said Hay. "We want to maintain a nice appearance for the front of the building. We want it to look inviting."
Follow the efforts of the DCE Green Team, and see the latest pictures of the garden on the team's blog, http://dcehappenings.blogspot.com.