Community Flower Gardens
GARDEN STEWARD PROFILE:
Carol Triano believes one of her callings in life is to make people happy, every day. As a volunteer garden steward for the past nine years at one of the Conservancy’s largest community gardens, Carol brightens the commutes of those driving or walking along Route 30 at Greengate Road in Greensburg.
“I absolutely love what I do and enjoy making people smile,” said Carol. “It makes me happy just knowing that I am making a difference in someone’s day. People often just honk their horns at me when I’m pulling weeds or watering the garden. And, I know a honk or a wave from someone in a car driving by usually means ‘thank you’.”
Before Carol became a garden steward, she volunteered through her job at Home Depot to help plant the community garden in 2007.
“I’ll never forget how much fun it was,” she said of her first volunteer experience with the Conservancy. “It was a total team effort and well worth the hard work. But then, as I watched all of the small flowers we planted bloom into a bounty of beauty and color, I was amazed and fascinated. After that first year, I was hooked and knew the garden was mine to take care of.”
All 130 of WPC’s community gardens rely on the collective efforts of thousands of volunteers each year to plant flowers, grasses and trees, and water and mulch. And once everything is planted, these community gardens need regular attention during spring and summer months to keep them healthy and blooming into the fall. That extra attention and care comes from a group of dedicated volunteers, called garden stewards, who regularly pull weeds and invasive plants, manage the irrigation system and remove litter.
Carol is one of 80 such stewards and she takes her responsibility and commitment seriously. Working two jobs and an avid volunteer with community youth groups, she still finds time to work in the garden at least six hours a week during growing seasons. She gets help from co-workers, neighbors, family, friends, and often, from complete strangers.
“I sometimes just post a message on Facebook and people automatically show up. When I’m out shopping or doing errands, people stop me and say how much they love my garden. I thank them and then remind them that it’s our garden – it belongs to the community.”
Carol says the residents, businesses and elected officials of Greensburg have been extremely supportive of the garden and volunteer opportunities. Home Depot and Silvis Group provide in-kind site preparation, Sam's Club provides drinks and snacks, and Chick-fil-A offers free meals to volunteers on planting and pull-out days. Elliott Group has been a longtime financial sponsor of the garden. Carol believes when people come together, communities become stronger.
“It’s incredible the amount of kindness and support that’s keeping this garden going strong,” she said “I’m not afraid to ask for help when I need it. And every time, I’m always encouraged by the generosity of this community.”
Carol says being a garden steward is one of the best decisions she ever made, as it provides relaxation and peace from her busy schedule.
“I’m at peace in the garden and I look forward to opportunities to make it better,” she said. “I’ll never get tired of the smiles and laughs people share in this garden when they volunteer or pass by. That motivates me year after year to be a better steward. This garden is truly a place where beauty, peace and community intersect. I can’t take full credit for that. That’s just nature at its best.”