Marcy-Holmes volunteers plant perennial seeds of beautification

Laurie Kemp

In hopes of beautifying and drawing people into their neighborhood, members of the Marcy-Holmes community, near the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis, will be planting a community garden Saturday morning.
The triangular plot of land is on the east side of Sixth Avenue S.E. and Main Street in Minneapolis. The owner of the land, John Drummond, offered it to the community for use as space for the flower garden.
Even though Drummond is selling the land, residents hope they will be able to continue the garden after the land changes hands, said coordinator for the Marcy Holmes Neighborhood Association Melissa Bean.
Drummond said he is happy to help out in any way he can, but there are prospective buyers for the land. He said after the land is sold, he couldn’t be responsible for what might happen to the garden.
All plants and flowers used in the garden were donated by community members and businesses. Minnesota Green, a public service program for the Minnesota Horticultural Society, has helped locate many materials needed for the garden, Bean said.
Minnesota Green acts as a clearing house for nurseries, retailers and private individuals to help communities revitalize themselves through plants. They are a nonprofit program supported by a $35 annual membership fee. Members submit a plant wish list for the flowers they need.
The organization located annual and perennial plants — left over from the Hennepin Technical College horticultural program — for use in the garden. Minnesota Green was also able to acquire the help of the Urban Lands Program’s Sustainable Resource Center, which tilled the plot of land and provided compost for the plants. The center, which provides assistance to people who would start a community garden, provided tools and seed.
“We try and work with the community as much or as little as they want,” said Terri Goodfellow-Heyer, coordinator for Minnesota Green. “We try to make the projects sustainable and maintainable. We also provide information to help maintain the plants.”
Although the land may be used differently after it is sold, Goodfellow-Heyer said she doesn’t think the effort is in vain. She said she hopes communities will start permanent gardens. “Beautification is a piece of it, but it’s not the end,” she said. “It also helps the environment.”
The neighborhood expects about 20 volunteers to participate in planting the garden. The 2nd Annual River Cleanup will take place the same day, Bean said, and people will probably help with both events.
The community garden is part of a neighborhood revitalization plan that will include the repaving of its Main Street, Bean said. Main Street is scheduled to be repaved with tar in 1998, but the community hopes to have a cobblestone pattern laid instead and hopes their efforts will give them more of a voice in the city’s surface choice.
“The road is just awful down there, and the garden will help to beautify it,” Bean said. “We want to use the garden as a gateway into the neighborhood.”
Community residents will be planting and maintaining the garden throughout the summer.