Uma Bhandaram directed a volunteer to pour a “mulch donut” around a newly planted dogwood tree on a Lyon Street sidewalk’s patch of earth.
The Urban Resources Initiative (URI) forester led a small group of Wooster Square neighbors and local volunteers in putting the final touches this week on the miniature garden, one of more than 50 urban “community greenspace” sites across the city.
Eli Whitney Technical School student Julian Gomez transported a bucket of mulch from the back of the truck to the sidewalk. He has been volunteering with URI for two years.
The donut shape of the mulch mound ensures “water stays inside,” Bhandaram told the group of volunteers. “It keeps the trees hydrated.”
They replanted bunches of liriope—sturdy “bomb-proof” grasses—and “drought tolerant” shasta daisies to flank the dogwood.
Every Tuesday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. this summer, Bhandaram meets with Wooster Square neighbors to tackle a different greenspace. They spent three Tuesdays hacking out a tree stump with stubborn roots a couple of houses down. Then, they planted a cherry tree in its place.
City Clerk Michael Smart, the URI community leader for Wooster Square, has spread the word about the workdays by putting fliers up and talking up the project to his neighbors.
Other outreach processes are more organic.
Yale student Finnegan Schick (a summer intern at the Independent) wandered out of his house to find the planters working. He picked up a shovel and started to dig.