By Kim Halyak

Last Fall, an anonymous Cooper-Young resident gifted the Cooper-Young Garden Club with a generous donation. When I asked him if he wanted it put toward a specific project, he simply stated, “Make something beautiful, Kim.” 

Well, it got our club thinking about how we could make a big impact on our neighborhood. After all, when our club formed in 2015, our founding members stated that we wanted our garden club to be more than an eating, drinking wine club. We wanted to beautify our neighborhood and have fun talking plants.

To that end we set our sights on beautifying Bruce Street on the neighborhood’s far east side. Last month, we hired Mister Tree Service to come limb up and prune out all the dead wood on the tree branches hanging over the fence that separates Bruce and the Dollar Tree store on East Parkway. This should help minimize future limb and leaf litter that blocked the sidewalk, street and sewer drains. Mister Tree Service did an amazing, quick job, so call them if you need tree work done.

The next huge job was tackling the horrendous leaf litter and trash that collects on the west side of the street behind the Dollar Tree. I and volunteers Jimmy McCown, Jim Wilson, Mr. Brown, and Demetrius Boyland shoveled bags and bags of wet leaf litter and sidewalk trash and discovered that snow shovels are perfect for this kind of work. Sadly, we uncovered many liquor bottles and beer cans, Dollar Tree plastic bags, and even a tire. Since the clean-up, additional trash has accumulated in the crook of the sidewalk. This may be the ideal location for a permanent trashcan. Residents could take turns emptying it.

To hide the unsightly fence, fourteen shrubs were purchased. Both natives (Florida anise) and non-natives (skip laurels and loropetalum) were chosen for ecological health and ease of maintenance. Due to all the competing tree roots and concrete from the parking lot, we hired Dan Elgart and his assistant, Dillion, to plant the shrubs for us. It was not easy digging, but the effect is lovely. The shrubs will soften the fence line, add evergreen color and scent, and bring in more birds and pollinators for the Bruce Street residents to enjoy.

Next on the checklist is weeding, mulching, and adding additional flowers and shrubs to the flower garden. Mr. and Mrs. Brown, who live across the street, have tended this garden over the years and are actively helping to restore its glory. 

Other ideas include: adding street and plant signage, birdhouses, and possibly a bench. Any CY artists interested in painting some floral/wildlife touches to the fence, contact Kim Halyak.

By May, we hope to celebrate this project completion with a Bruce Street Block Party. 

If you appreciate our garden club’s efforts to beautify our neighborhood, consider making a donation to our 501(c)3 organization. You’re supporting a club that values getting things done.

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