A Master Garden takes shape at CCC


Nichole Gregory (left), CCC's Testing and Tutoring Coordinator, sits with Janan Scott, Purchasing Specialist II, in the CCC garden, which is now a Master Gardener site.



FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Four years ago, the space sat abandoned, with crumbling garden beds, invasive weeds and rocky soil, where few native plants thrived and pollinator insects rarely visited.


That has changed, thanks largely to the efforts of CCC employees Nichole Gregory and Janan Scott.


The garden at Coconino Community College now bursts with color from native plants and flowers and the pollinators buzz among the rich plant life. This turnaround is about to improve even more because the garden was recently approved as a Coconino Master Gardener Association site.


To commemorate that achievement, there will be a Volunteer Day at the garden, open to master gardeners and community members, on Saturday, Aug. 10, 8 a.m. to noon.


“The CCC garden is an educational space with native wildflowers for pollinators, experimental beds and traditional raised beds for vegetable gardening,” said Scott, who is a purchasing specialist II at the college and a Master Gardener. “Our goals for the next year include building A-frames over the raised bed for wildlife protection, installing a rain garden and providing seating throughout the garden for optimal enjoyment.”


Gregory, CCC’s Testing Services Coordinator and a Master Gardener, said the upcoming event is meant to celebrate the effort put into revitalizing the space into a native botanical garden, and the gardeners at CCC wanted to invite Master Gardeners and the public to join in that celebration.


“The space is finally coming to life in all the ways we had originally dreamed it would,” Gregory said. “We regularly see CCC students and staff taking breaks or walking through the garden now.”


In addition, the garden has served as an educational space for several CCC classes in both Construction Technology Management and Biology. The garden has also served as a catalyst to bring about connections – with local nurseries, stable owners (for manure), the U.S. Forest service, Coconino County Adult Probation and, of course, the Coconino Master Gardener Association.


Gregory said that Master Gardeners are required to do a certain number of volunteer hours to earn or maintain their certification each year.


“We received a grant from them several years ago that allowed us to buy some materials to get this project started,” Gregory added. “Now that we are officially a Master Gardener site, we can set up volunteer days for other Master Gardeners to earn hours …”


So, what is the allure of gardening?


Gregory said, “Gardening is truly about a passion for nature and fostering life. Taking a space that is dead, or filled with invasive plants, and encouraging a healthy ecosystem where you can see your efforts literally grow and blossom over time is a rewarding experience.”


Gregory and Scott both started with an interest in growing edible gardens, but now their work focuses on fostering native landscapes that attract pollinator insects and other wildlife to the area while offering a relaxing and educational space for the entire community.


During the Aug. 10 volunteer day, volunteers will be installing a couple of new beds and preparing established beds for fall seeding, Scott said. Hattie Braun, the CMGA coordinator will be giving a presentation, and Gregory will talk about the “hügelkultur mound” raised garden bed at the garden – what it is, why it was built and why it was determined to be the best option for the CCC garden.


“We hope that as we continue to improve the area, it will become more popular,” Gregory said.


For more information about the Coconino Master Gardener Association, visit http://coconinomgassociation.blogspot.com/



Thursday, 1st August 2019

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  • Thursday, 1st August 2019