Last May, sixteen professional landscape designers developed the front yards of homes on Ashley Street from Garden to Huntington Street. Several other gardeners did their own thing and the street looked great. Organized by N.I.N.A. (Northside Institution Neighborhood Alliance) and funded by the Hartford, the idea came from similiar efforts in Buffalo - that city has gained world-wide acclaim for its gardens.
This year, last Saturday, was "Mulch Day". With twenty-five yards of Mulch delivered, the neighbors, volunteers from the Valley Community Baptist church of Avon, the Cathedral of St. Joseph Knights of Columbus, and the management of N.I.N.A., refreshed all the yards. Also, about a dozen gardens will be dressed up this year to fill the block in with landscaping and flowers.
With the Avon folks showing up at 9 am and working straight through to 1 pm, all twenty-five yards of mulch were used, several piles of trash were disposed of and hundreds of weeds were pulled from the roots. Neighbors as young as eight and into their 80's participated. Mulch was moved by truck, trash cans, wheelbarrows and even plastic bags. Ken Johnson, Executive Director of N.I.N.A, said "Our investment last year has paid off in many ways. We've seen hikers, bikers, strollers and photographers enjoying the gardens on Ashley Street. Every year, we hope to extend the program throughout our service area."
On Saturday, June 8th, all the gardens will be finished just in time for a free tour. From 10 am to 2 pm.. N.I.N.A invites the whole community to walk the block. A reception with refreshments will be held during that time in one of the gardens.