Brightening lots with the brilliant colors of the Mix N' Match Meadow
$2,500 to $5,500
Volunteer + Professional
Mt. Olivet Neighborhood Watch incorporated the Mix N’ Match Meadow into their overarching community plans. Their vision was to reinvigorate the lot with colorful plant mixes that will not only welcome the community with beauty and serenity, but will also attract natural habitat, thus bringing more life to the area.
Mt. Olivet Neighborhood Watch Inc.
$2,500 to $5,500
Volunteer + Professional
Neighbors, volunteers from DTE, 36th District Court Probation Community Service, a master plumber, a carpenter, and a film crew from Canada doing a documentary on Detroit also volunteered.
Mix 'N Match Meadow
8084, 8090 Mt. Olivet St. Detroit, MI 48234
First, we had to clean out the two lots. There was a row of trees on the back of both lots requiring us to use a power saw to cut them down. Then we had to get a stump grinder to grind the stumps down, so we rented one. After that, we smoothed the ground and saw it had a slope. Additionally, the soil was mostly clay and hard. With the volunteer help of a few city workers, we moved extra top soil from Fletcher Playfield Park onto the lots using a tractor. We have our own tractor, because we have a farm, so we used that to move the soil. After we moved the top soil, we leveled off the two lots with the top soil. But the top soil had lots of rocks, so our team worked to remove those by hand. With the help of additional grant funding, we purchased a water tank. We used a pile of rocks and pieces of cement to prop up the water tank. We had to obtain a bulldozer to move the extra cement from a driveway that had been demolished. We used sticks and screens to make the shape of a star-shaped garden, and incorporated a roll of ground cover to start. We cut a slit in it and dug a hole for 94 boxwood hedges. We then planted perennial wildflowers; purple and yellow. We put down more topsoil, but forgot to put down a germinator blanket, and that was a big mistake, because the topsoil was blown around by wind. So, we had to rake the topsoil back down. Don’t ever forget the germinator blanket! A final note: two of the community volunteers are in wheelchairs. One side of our star garden has a brick path that is handicapped accessible. We had to rent a local minister’s skid-steer to help us make that path. There are also two wood boxes the handicapped residents can plant in.
It was originally a square-shaped design, but we made it a star shape. That’s the only thing we changed about it.
The purpose of this project was to beautify the neighborhood’s public open space while attracting birds and bees to pollinate the community garden.
The city owns the two lots. We received approval from the city to transform them.
We learned more about types of soil and what the soil needs to ensure healthy plants. We also learned how to build a water shed to meet our watering needs and save on the water bill.
The community visited the site frequently to see how the project looked. We were very glad that those members who were in wheelchairs could also enjoy the space, as we worked to ensure it was accessible to all members of the community.
We were awarded funds through the Working with Lots mini-grant program with Detroit Future City. We also held a T-shirt fundraiser is being held to raise money for the project.
The most challenging part of the implementation process was renting out the equipment needed and learning how to use it. The companies just drop off the tools and it was up to us to figure out how to use them and do all the work. All the materials used were recycled products. All we had to do was ask and it was easy to get those materials from people or places that were discarding them or were collecting them in their backyard, etc.
The maintenance plan will entail following the guidelines in the Field Guide adding more plants and compost. We have more volunteers coming from the 36th District’s community service program. Additionally, students from a local high school will help, and our local volunteers remain dedicated to maintaining the lot.