Project Bloom Garden Project
A children’s garden and pollinator garden created by Project Bloom volunteers will expand and thrive thanks to a recent $500 grant designed to support community “greenspace” development. Project Bloom, a community beautification program, was one of approximately 100 organizations across the U.S. chosen for the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company’s GRO1000 initiative encouraging garden builds. It is part of a broader initiative designed to create 1,000 gardens and greenspaces throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe for the Company’s 150th anniversary in 2018.
Keep Islip Clean (KIC) and the Islip Parks Department launched Project Bloom 23 years ago under the direction of volunteers from Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardener Program. Volunteers still meet each spring at the circa 1920 greenhouse on the grounds of Brookwood Hall in East Islip. Volunteer gardeners grow and supply about 30 local KIC volunteer groups with over 6,000 free plants that are used to beautify public spaces throughout the Town of Islip.
The GRO1000 grant will help expand a newly renovated community vegetable garden to include 100 square feet for a children’s “Victory Garden,” a new pumpkin/watermelon patch and a new berry bed with a bird bath. The flower beds surrounding the children’s garden have been filled with plants to attract pollinators.
In addition to the children’s garden, other improvements include replanting an existing meadow bed as a 200 square foot pollinator garden. Ultimately, these special plants will be distributed to Project Bloom groups with the goal of establishing 30 more pollinator gardens. Informational signs installed in the gardens will educate the public about the role these types of plants play in maintaining a healthy environment by supporting the health of bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators.
The last several years have seen an ambitious expansion of Project Bloom under the stewardship of Master Gardener Kathy VanDyke and her husband, Bob. With their knowledgeable direction, scores of volunteers have donated many hours to create a new landscape for the benefit of the public.
“We were thrilled to receive the grant from Scotts to support our garden projects at Project Bloom,” said Kathy. “As a volunteer organization with very limited funding, this grant award will go a long way towards establishing new gardens and creating educational signs.”
The public is invited to visit the gardens located on the Brookwood Hall property at 50 Irish Lane, East Islip. For more information about volunteering, call Keep Islip Clean at 631-224-2627.