posted Jun 13, 2013, 1:21 PM by Wales Garden

Last October 13 and 20th volunteers from our neighborhood pitched in with gloves, shovels and clippers to weed 2 sections of the Saluda Avenue Median.  We found all sorts of things in the underbrush – bottles, cans and one cell phone!  The City helped out by hauling away the mountains of debris.  We had wanted to have more clean up days but the Holidays were upon us.  Hopefully we can schedule more in the future.  

We also had been working with the Forestry and Beautification Division of Columbia to map out each section and identify all the types of plants in each section. Our goal was to find a grant to fund the purchase of new azaleas to fill in areas that needed more bushes.  Also on our wish list was improved irrigation, with timers, for all sections of the median.  At the January 27, 2013 Median party we presented our plan and asked for donations from Wales Gardeners.  The response has been wonderful and we raised a little over $2000 to date.  Our County Council Member, Seth Rose and our City Country Council Member, Moe Baddourah were at the meeting and volunteered to help us achieve our goals.  Mayor Steve Benjamin attended our party as well and was enthusiastic about our project.

At our request, Forestry and Beautification mapped out our current irrigation system.  They also gave us estimates on adding timers and improving the system, which we forwarded on to Moe to hopefully find the funding.  On March 21, 2013, Moe organized a meeting for Andy, Susie and me to meet with Mayor Benjamin, Moe,City Manager Teresa Wilson, Assistant City Manager, Melissa Smith-Gentry, and other city officials, including Public Works Director Robert Anderson and Superintendent of Forestry and Beautification, Sara Hollar.  During the meeting Mayor Benjamin told us he had a donor for all the 60+ azaleas we were requesting as well as that they would find the funding for all the irrigation work.  The plan was to have all this done for City Serve Volunteer Week, April 22 thru 27.  The three of us left the meeting pinching ourselves for what we just accomplished!!  We didn’t get all the irrigation completed, of course, before we planted the donated 60+ azaleas during City Serve but the irrigations is now working and on timers. 

Seth Rose had also been working toward finding funding for the azaleas and did get $928 donated thru the County Appearance Committee.  Since we already had the azaleas, that money along with some of what Wales Garden has collected has been used to have Blue Moon Landscaping fertilize all the azaleas, mulch the 2 sections the city would allow and edge some of the beds that were in need of it. 
Next we plan to get estimates on having the azaleas trimmed correctly which we should have in the next few weeks.  Once done properly the bushes should not have to be trimmed for several years.

Many, many  thanks to our neighborhood volunteers, to Andy Marion for his leadership and guidance, and to City and County officials who made this happen.  Melinda and Susie.