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Greetings From ‘The Heart’

Updated: Aug 8, 2023

The collaboration between RCMG and WSCO's Garden of Good Hearts continues into its third year


This is our third year partnering with the West Side Community Organization (WSCO) to restore a neighborhood garden called The Garden of Good Hearts. It has seen an amazing transformation. The garden has gone from a jungle of creeping bellflower, Virginia creeper, and invasive phlox to identifiable rose, hosta, peony, trillium, euphorbia, corydalis, goldenrod, and many other groupings of original perennials. Since my project update last year we have had lots of highlights.

Late last fall we worked with a group of local high-schoolers to move about twenty hosta that were being sunburned due to the removal of boulevard trees. After clearing a shady area, the kids came up with the idea to use some of the hosta to build a heart-shaped garden out of brick and stone. They then redesigned the original garden using aster, rudbeckia, phlox and sedum supplied by the RCMG.

This season’s highlights are mostly about our amazing Team Eagle of Master Gardener mentors and interns. Samantha Larsen has been instrumental in tracking down the ‘Healing Garden’ signage and getting permission to use it. She is also in charge of getting it financed through the RCMG and WSCO. We hope to have the signage up later this year and add one more interesting feature to the garden.

Another intern, Jayme Neverton, a graphic artist, has created a basic map of the garden. (Left: Proposed garden design; Right Overhead photos taken prior to Master Gardener volunteer involvement.)

It was also fun when WSCO invited herbalist, Sharri Keller to come and examine the garden. She identified some already present very safe-to-eat herbal plants ,such as bee balm and anise hyssop and advised us on others we could include. WSCO provided the plants and we jointly created an herbal garden. The herbalist then gave a presentation on the plants in the herbal garden and taught participants to make herb butter and spreads to taste.

Reaching further into the community, we got two local businesses, Backstory Coffee Roasters and Wabasha Brewing Company to each commit to one month to supply help for the garden. On work nights the owners of the businesses either came themselves with their families or asked their employees to come.

A huge recent advancement is that we finally have use of the fire hydrant on the corner and no longer have to bring our own water or depend on a rain barrel in this season without rain! A shed was also just installed on the property for the safe keeping of tools and hoses. WSCO purchased plant labels to use in the garden. which we are in the process of placing. This will not only be a great boon to help visitors with plant identification but will help us know where not to dig in the spring.

This began as a mentor/intern project back in 2020. However, since July 2023, the project has been open to other RCMG volunteers. We invite you to come join us and hope to see you in the Garden of Good Hearts!

Fabienne Bridges

RCMG Volunteer

Encourage access to plants and green spaces for health and wellbeing by working with community groups to co-create projects


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