For years, Cynthia “Cindy” Moore voluntarily tended a triangle-shaped piece of land in her neighborhood that was owned by the city.
She cared for the little median at Glen Burnie and Kirkside avenues, raking and weeding. But the duties of keeping up the garden—amongst her other commitments—eventually became too much.
When the weeds continued growing and overtook the triangle, the city started receiving complaints. It planned to plow the garden and put in sod.
But Moore’s neighbor, Beth Bosserman Curts, didn’t like that idea.
“I knew the sod the city was suggesting planting would die, so figured other options were better,” said Curts, who lives on Glen Burnie Avenue. “And we were creative enough with our own gardens, certainly we neighbors could come up with a better plan.”
Tom Borroni, a city code compliance officer, had walked around the neighborhood to let residents know the city’s plan.
“I spoke to (Beth), and she was really ecstatic that I approached her about it,” Borroni said.
Curts sprung into action, going door to door and asking her neighbors if they would be interested in re-planting the triangle garden and caring for it. The project would not only save the garden, it would also bring the neighborhood closer together.
“Once they got going, it was amazing that the neighbors all stepped up,” Borroni said.
Neighbors had their first meeting in November, and they planned throughout the winter at monthly meetings. By May 21, they were ready to plant.
“We all donated Florida-friendly plants from our gardens,” Curts said. “Five plumbago came from my Glen Burnie home. I'd been a kid gardener in the 60's in a rambling 1924 Med Rev home on Glen Arven hidden by a veritable jungle, which at the time boasted six greenhouses, countless forts, and a fishpond with waterfall.”
Curts’ husband, Gerry Curts, brought a cooler of water for the May 21 planters and put in a grouping of milkweed from neighborhood yards. Angelo Spoto grabbed a shovel and dug holes through the fabric to transfer plants. Russ Buhite and teen son Nick pruned and cleared the dead plants, and on planting day dug and planted. Herb Newman and Bert Catala helped rototill the cleared area to prep before planting. Myra Newman and Sybil Catala lugged mulch over by wheelbarrow. Pine straw mulch came from the streets and along the nearby golf course.
“There's a wonderful span of residency tenure on the block from one year to 40,” Beth Bosserman Curts said. “We've had fun reminiscing about who knew if the water pipes were hard or plastic, if the water even ran, and how long there had been greenery in the triangle depending on how long folks had lived on the streets.”
Neighbors will take turns maintaining the garden, coming together as a group every few months to prune and weed.
“We had planned a group weeding party this weekend, but it was rained out, disappointingly,” Beth Bosserman Curts said. “Will reschedule very soon indeed.”
Borroni said the take-away for the rest of the community should be the inspiration to support each other.
“To me, neighbors just helping out other neighbors—that’s what it’s all about,” he said.