Butrovich Employee Garden

For years the flowerbeds in front of the Butrovich building have been overgrown with grasses and weeds. Beautiful irises, peonies, poppies, Jacob’s ladder and other perennials dependably bloom each season, but the overall asthetic is one of wild disarray.  A couple of years ago, Bess Rounds asked the Statewide Administration Assembly, SAA, to pursue putting employee-sponsored gardens in the beds. The idea has been discussed and planned for, but it was not until this summer that all the pieces came together and the employee garden really came to life.

SAA has been working to bring this project to Butrovich for a couple years now. Twice, Darrin “Bear” Edson, head of grounds crews with Facilities Services, spoke to the assembly about what it would take to get the project moving. SAA offered to coordinate the labor of weeding, planting and maintaining the plants if they were made available. Early this spring Bess Rounds contacted Paula Curtis, director of the greenhouse at Facilities Services, and put in an order for the types of vegetables we would be interested in. The request was repeated at the SAA annual meeting.

Meanwhile, others were looking to get plants up to the Butrovich. Michelle Wood volunteered to plant flowers in the planters by the signs on both sides of the parking lot during the campus-wide planting day this spring. She also requested that any leftover plants be brought to the Butrovich. Joan Fiorenzi heard of Michelle’s request and also contacted Paula Curtis to inquire about extra plants for the Butrovich.

Paula found out the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station had some leftover starts after their vegetable plots had all been planted, and she told Cameron Willingham about the project. Cameron contacted SAA president Lisa Sporleder and offered vegetable plants from the experimental farm. Lisa and Michelle made plans to retrieve them, and on June 20 they picked up 255 plants for the employee garden from Professor Meriam Karlsson.

Lisa and Michelle asked Jocelyn Martin to be the main coordinator of the project. Jocelyn recently completed the UA Master Gardener Course, and the Butrovich employee-garden is the perfect opportunity for putting in the community service hours required by the program. She drew up a basic planting plan, coordinated volunteers and is overseeing the planting and care of the vegetables.

Lisa Sporleder sent out a building-wide call for volunteers, and weeding, rototilling and planting began on June 21. Additional space will be made for the donated plants that continue to be offered to the effort. Facilities will install soaker hoses and timers, but planting, weeding and enjoying the harvest will be the responsibility of Butrovich staff.

Anyone interested is welcomed to lend a hand with the continuing task of weeding and maintaining the beds. A substantial amount of work remains in clearing the remaining grasses and weeds from around the perennials. If unsure about plant and weed identification, contact Jocelyn. She would be happy to help you identify the perennials and other “keepers” in the beds. We look forward to a new tradition at Butrovich and enjoying the fruits of our labor!

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