In the late afternoon sun on Monday, children in the after-school program at the J. Arthur Trudeau Center had the opportunity to plant the first batch of plants in the new community garden.
A group of seven students visited Yardworks on Warwick Avenue to pick out plants donated by Bridget Bugbee. Bugbee, whose brothers own the garden center, even gave the students a tour of the greenhouses. After the tour, the group loaded up their van with close to 30 different plants and headed back to the center to start planting. They planted a mix of flowers and vegetables.
Jennie Finn, respite coordinator for the center and an intern at the University of Rhode Island’s Master Gardeners Program, walked the group through the proper planting procedure, which included adding fertilizer and compost to the soil, and loosening the roots at the base of the plants prior to planting.
In addition, Beth Ann Coletta, a Trudeau Center employee and gardening enthusiast, explained to the students that all of the plants would be watered with rainwater that had been collected from the gutters in a barrel from the various storms over the past week.
The garden project began in April when Finn and Coletta came up with the plan to teach children about plant life and gardening by creating a garden behind the M. Thomas Larkin Recreation Building.
All of the items for the garden, including soil, wood, the rain barrel, and plants, were donated from the community. Finn, Coletta and the kids were very thankful to everyone who donated, including Beverly O’Keefe, Lowe’s on Greenwich Avenue, Chris Swiderski, Shannon Donovan, West Shore Garden Center, URI Master Gardeners and Dawn Mooney.
Finn explained that the plan is to allow the students to water the garden whenever they are outside for an activity, but she and Colette will handle the day-to-day tending. Additionally, once a month, students will be able to sign up for a gardening activity.