I haven’t been this excited about Lilac Hill in a really long time. We have had such wonderful volunteers involved and I am so grateful! – Patti Sullivan, Horticulture Technician at City of Roseville
RCMG volunteers began helping on Lilac Hill, the eastern edge (Dale Street-side) of the Muriel Sahlin Arboretum in 2021. Roseville Park and Rec staff approached RCMG to ask for help with the mature lilacs that give the garden bed its name. The shrubs were so overgrown that the flowers—what few there were—blossomed far above the heads of any park visitors where it was hard to enjoy them. The Lilac Hill garden beds were overgrown because of the expansive size; the community volunteers who maintain the park were intimidated by the garden's size and shrubs and it had been left abandoned for several years.
RCMG began a multi-year engagement to conduct Renewal Pruning of the lilacs in the late spring and offered to help maintain the garden bed during the summer. Coming out of the pandemic, this was a great way for Master Gardener volunteers to meet one another and chat casually while getting their hands dirty.
Starting in 2022, the Park and Rec staff saw major improvements in the Lilac Hill garden beds and invested in weed-suppressing mulch. RCMG volunteers continued to help prune the lilac shrubs and manage invasive plant species that had moved into the garden and installed plants that were acting more aggressively than expected.
This year, 2023, the Park and Rec staff asked RCMG's opinions on new perennial plants to add to Lilac Hill and volunteers helped to install and care for the new plants during the hot and dry summer.
RCMG volunteers meet at the park 1-2 times per month on Wednesday, sometimes morning from 9-11AM and some evenings 5-7PM. This has been a great project for interns and seasoned Master Gardener volunteers. Volunteers enjoyed sharing their garden knowledge and building friendship with the one another, visiting community members and Roseville Parks & Rec staff. While working in the Lilac Hill garden beds, volunteers answer gardening and plant questions for park visitors who notice the Master Gardeners at work and take the opportunity to learn.
"It has been great learning from all of the MG volunteers," says project lead, Donna Andersen. "Whether it’s plant knowledge, garden design skills, or getting to know each other, it’s been a very fulfilling project!"
Photo Gallery: Lilac Hill 2023
Donna Andersen RCMG Volunteer Lilac Hill Project Leader
Sue Mason RCMG Volunteer Lilac Hill Project Co-Leader
This project supports the Nearby Nature priority of the Master Gardener Volunteer Program: Encourage access to plants and green spaces for health and well-being.