Making their corner a better place

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From l., Aubrey Schulz, Kai Schulz and Debby Reelitz handle the watering on a dry sunny day. Photo by Shirley Murtha

For years, Rick Orluk and Trish Percival maintained the vegetation on the little island at the intersection of Higley and Silkey Roads. Their vigilance kept it from being paved over, but the plants growing there were planted long before their time and included the invasive Japanese barberry and non-native forsythia.

Recently, as part of an effort to reduce the invasives and create a more welcoming island, a group of neighbors under the direction of Debby Reelitz spearheaded the effort to remove the old growth and replace it with native species that benefit birds and insect pollinators. Granby resident, and friend of Reelitz, Aubrey Schulz donated her planning services and created a design featuring native salt-tolerant, no-fuss perennials, keeping the plants low to the ground to not interfere with visibility. Species include sundial lupine, beard tongue, flax-leaved aster, sweet fern, pussy toes, prairie dropseed, butterfly weed and New Jersey tea.

The project could have been quite expensive, but neighborhood volunteers did all the work: removing the old plants, amending the soil, and planting the new specimens. The $550 cost of the new plants was covered by many neighborhood donors. When possible, slightly more mature plants were purchased to give the island a more filled-in look right from the start.

Reelitz, Orluk and Percival would like to thank the following people for contributing in one way or another to this project: Lee and Chris Barba, Marcie Braden, Maureen Eberly, Laura and Keith Fetridge, Joanne Holloway, Leslie Judge, Chris LaVigne, Doreen McWhirter, Emilia Sales, Jill Small, Ellen Stoltz, Aubrey Schultz, the Tolve Family and Jim Watso.

Also, much appreciation goes to the anonymous passersby who stop while on their walks and pull a few weeds. Indeed, it does take a village.