Students walking toward the Village on Tuesday, Oct. 24 may have seen a group of volunteers planting bulbs and irises on Middle Path. This was part of a collaborative project between the College and Gambier community members to renovate the flower beds along the path.
Over the summer, four Gambier residents started talking about ways to bring more color to Middle Path. Around two years ago, Middle Path was reconstructed as part of a three-year project to make it more accessible. During the process, the garden layout was also changed.
“The kind of planting that they did is very popular now; it’s a lot of really low-maintenance plants, plants that don’t need a lot of water. So it’s not unusual, it’s just very different than what I think people were used to seeing here,” said Kimberlee Klesner, retired vice president for college relations and one of the members of the project. “The gardens along here were always something really special. People used to drive through in the spring just to see what was blooming.”
After discussing their plans over the summer, the volunteers petitioned the College to use the portion of Middle Path directly across from the bookstore as a test bed for a longer-term project of rejuvenating the Middle Path gardens.
“There are four of us who got together and said, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if we could make these garden beds a little more exuberant, a little more colorful, a little more abundant with variety,” Ruth Woehr, a retired Cox Health and Counseling Center therapist, said.
Along with Klesner and Woher, Susan Givens, retired dean of residential college, and Buffy Hallinan ’76, a former chair of the College’s Board of Trustees, are also part of the project. Their proposal was approved in September, and the College is now providing support while the team takes the lead as they plant flowers in the test bed.
“What this will do is give us a sense of what grows really well,” Klesner said. “We’ll just be evaluating what does well, and then using that information to kind of make some recommendations for what we might do to some of the other beds.”
On Tuesday, the team planted around 500 bulbs. Siblings of the Alpha Sigma Tau sorority also volunteered to help with planting.
The project members will resume their work in the spring with the addition of perennial plants. Klesner expressed appreciation for the students who volunteered on Tuesday and looks forward to working with more people on this community project.