In February, 2017 the Crestwood Beautification Committee offered a grant of up to $500 to any neighborhood group wanting to beautify their subdivision entrance, island or common area. A group of neighbors from Tahiti Drive had been concerned with the appearance of the two islands on their street.
They applied for a grant for each island.One island had three trees that had never thrived in that area and no other plantings. It was a rather grim site. The other island had a lovely old red bud tree but the entire island was choked with overgrown daylilies and other random plants.
The terms of the grant included an application form listing the neighbors responsible for maintaining the site after the completion of the project. It also required that the applicants raise money to help pay for the project and that they submit a detailed description of it. Four neighbors for each island applied and the grant was approved.
The following remarks are a compilation of comments from the neighborhood volunteers.
To raise money we decided to have a Savers fundraiser. We distributed fliers to the entire subdivision requesting donations of clothes and other household items typically accepted by Savers as donations. We offered to collect the donations (they could also drop the donations off at Savers on the day of the fundraiser). Savers then paid us an amount based on the weight of the items.
We decided to seek the help of the horticulture students from Meramec Community College for the designs of the new gardens. We met with the students and described the design issues. We told them that we preferred mostly native plants and perennials.
The horticultural students worked most of the Spring semester on the designs. Once again we met with them and chose the designs that would work best. They gave us a list of the suggested plants and growing information.
We chose to purchase them at Jost Greenhouses in Des Peres. They had a large selection of native plants at a good price. We also bought some soil enhancements and a small tree from Bayers and mulch from Kirkwood Material Supply.
It was the beginning of June before we could plant. Prior to planting, the city helped us by cutting the three trees down at the South island. The neighbors responsible for the North island took out the old daylilies. We were able to do all the planting in one day. The mulch was spread the following week by the same crew.
The entire experience was rewarding. It was hard work but fun to get to know the neighbors better and share the feeling of accomplishment.
The following year we repeated the process of applying for the grant and having another Savers fundraiser. We didn’t need as much money but there were some things we were not able to afford the first year.
The plants continue to prosper; the neighbors continue to collaborate; the neighborhood appreciates our endeavors; and the birds, bees and butterflies abound!