Planting for tomorrow
Sawdust competed in vain with the smell of fertilized soil Tuesday in the courtyard at Wellington Place, where a group of young professionals spent several hours building raised planters the residents can use when the spring planting season rolls around.
Residents passing by windows to the courtyard kept an eye on the group’s progress as the planters took shape.
The effort was a Leadership Tomorrow group’s community project. All teams in the Leadership Tomorrow program are encouraged to do projects as part of their curriculum.
Sharon Agnew, one of the members of the Translators team, said they chose this project after learning of the need for the raised planters at the facility.
“We were trying to find something that would have a lasting impact and not be just a one-and-done type thing,” Agnew said. “We found out that they wanted some handicap-accessible beds for residents that are in wheelchairs that still want to garden.
“It was something that we never really considered,” she said, of the need for higher planter boxes so that those in wheelchairs can more easily access the flowers or fruit and vegetable plants that would normally be grown low to the ground.
Once they made their choice, they worked on getting dimensions for the two boxes they wanted to create and then seeking donations of supplies and even of time from local businesses. Carl Ownby Hardware provided supplies, and Sunshine Landscaping donated both supplies and helping hands. BB&T donated snacks to the workers.
The two beds each are several inches shy of 3 feet tall. One will be 3 feet by 8 feet to mirror one already in place. Another is a bit larger at 4-by-12.
Carol Kratochvil, the resident program coordinator, said the news beds will be a welcome sight to residents who have a green thumb or just want to learn about gardening.
The facility began a horticulture class last year taught by the daughter of a resident.
“We started looking for new ways for our residents to plant flowers and vegetables and stuff
like that,” Kratochvil said. “She did some research and pulled up some pictures of some different beds that would be higher and easier for the residents to do planting.
“We only had one little bed for them at the time, so this is more exciting for them; they’ll have more things to do.”
The new beds will also be an improvement, since the first was made with treated lumber, and therefore couldn’t be used for planting vegetables.
“We found out that you could only do vegetables in certain kinds of beds, and that particular one we had was a treated lumber, and I guess with vegetables you can’t have treated lumber,” Kratochvil said. So the only things the residents could plant in the first bed were flowers. They improvised last year, however, and planted vegetables in buckets.
The largest bed built on Tuesday will be dedicated to fruits and vegetables, Kratochvil said.
Agnew said the team will come back in March to officially give the planters to the facility, place a plaque and start the planting process.
Agnew said the team was gratified by the donations received from local businesses. “The interconnectedness in the community is wonderful,” she said of how Leadership Sevier and Leadership Tomorrow programs are supported locally.
Along with Agnew, other members of the Translators team include Jonathan Ball, Valerie Barker, Carissa Mitchell, John Roulapaugh, Shawn Snyder, James Williams and Samuel Yalley.