Public gets to visit Community Garden


David Woolley (foreground) waters the plot he leases in the Old Colorado City Community Garden during the "gala" Aug. 7. Also in the photo are other plots, art and food areas, visitors and (far right in background) musician John Spengler.
Westside Pioneer photo
A “gala” promoted for the first-year Old Colorado City Community Garden at 2825 W. Pikes Peak Ave. drew several dozen people and raised about $500 through an outdoor silent auction the evening of Aug. 7.

A density of young tomatoes being grown by Elise Bowan of Pikes Peak Urban Gardens.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Half of the money will stay with the garden for upcoming maintenance and water costs, according to Elise Bowan of the non-profit Pikes Peak Urban Gardens (PPUG), which organized the project. She added that PPUG has earmarked the remainder of the funds for a garden that will be developed in the coming months at the new Buena Vista Montessori public school at 924 W. Pikes Peak.
       “We are grateful to the local artists who donated their art, as well as to everyone who made food to share, and to those who stopped by to learn more about what is going on,” Bowan said.
       The 6,240-square-foot vacant lot is separated into 18 garden plots, each of which individuals quickly leased last winter after the garden plan was announced. As the summer season has moved along, the garden has become increasingly full of vegetation.
       The property is being loaned to PPUG for five years by property owners Louis and Irene Lucas, who attended the gala. “When we first bought it, we wanted to build on it,” Irene said. But plans didn't come together right away, and then the couple got to talking about the gardening possibilities with Bowan and Larry Stebbins, both of whom had helped found PPUG two years ago. “They inspired us,” Irene said. “We jumped at the chance to do this.”

Spengler's son Bennett displays a scarecrow he made himself and hoped to sell in the garden's silent auction.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Several of the site's gardeners also attended the gala. One was David Woolley, who described his Manitou Springs residence as too steep and shady for proper planting. He said he's pleased with the flat, sunny Community Garden, although he makes no claims about having a green thumb. “I've done well enough to know what could happen,” he laughed.
       PPUG donated $700 to get the project started, obtained grant money, helped prepare the soil and continues to provide consultation to the gardeners. Stebbins said he's enjoyed seeing the project come together. “It shows what can happen with a vacant lot,” he said.

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