Holley celebrates opening of community garden

Photos by Kristina Gabalski: The new Holley Community Garden is completely fenced-in, with access by way of the white garden shed.  Rainwater is being collected via gutters on the shed roof.  Sue Persia said the beds contain screened topsoil, "Nutri-Brew" - consisting primarily of brewery waste.  The composed material adds nutrients to the soil and conditions it.  Persia said it is very helpful in providing pH levels which are excellent for plant growth.  Additionally, dry, aged and bagged cow manure was provided by grant funds.  All raised bed soil-mix materials are organic, Persia said.  She provided those who have rented beds with information on organic, homemade disease and pest sprays.

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 27 May 2017 at 5:56 pm

Young violinist John Patt provided music for the event.  He played “The Star Spangled Banner,” an appropriate choice for Memorial Day Weekend.

HOLLEY – No seeds have been planted, no vegetable transplants set in place, but the newly created Holley Community Garden is already reaching its goal of bringing the community together.

“This is wonderful,” Myron Holley Garden Club member Sue Persia said Saturday morning during an event celebrating the official opening of the garden. “This is going to be a catalyst for the community… a place to interact with neighbors… a place for the community to work together to make something positive happen. What better way than to go back to the soil?”

Community residents and leaders gathered at the garden at 10 a.m. for a ribbon cutting and refreshments. The event also provided an opportunity for those who have already rented a 4′-by-8′ raised garden bed to get to know each other.

The garden is located off the north side of State St. (Rt. 31) on the east side of the village where there is ample room for raised growing beds.

The garden came together quickly this spring when the Clarendon Lions Club and the Myron Holley Garden Club agreed to supervise the project, which was facilitated by a $15,000 grant through the Orleans County Public Health Department. The grant was supplied by the Medical Reserve Corporation under the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Association of City, County and Health Officials.

“We are glad to see the grant put to good use,” Al Cheverie of the Orleans County Health Department said.

Holley Mayor Brian Sorochty and Al Cheverie of the Orleans County Health Department cut the “green” ribbon on the garden shed to officially open the Holley Community Garden.  Sue Persia looks on. Persia read a favorite garden poem:  “There is always music in the garden… but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it.”

Holley Mayor Brian Sorochty said local resident Brenden Bedard informed him of the opportunity.  He said he realized the Holley community could take on the project after the Clarendon Lions and Myron Holley Garden Club agreed to supervise construction and care of the garden.

“It’s a match made in heaven,” Sorochty said. “It is a worthwhile project and very heartwarming. I’m grateful for everything everybody has done.”

Community residents enter the garden for the first time.

Sorochty noted in addition to the Orleans County Health Department, Lions and Garden clubs, many people have been involved in making the garden a reality, including the Holley Village Board, Village Clerk Deborah Schiavone, Village of Holley Department of Public Works and Sara’s Garden Center.  The garden will be organic, Sue Persia said.

Sue Persia says she is planning monthly educational events at the garden.  There are still beds available for rental.  The fee is $20 per year and participants must sign an agreement  to abide by the garden rules.

More information is available at the Holley Village Clerk’s Office, Clarendon Town Clerk’s Office, Holley Community Free Library and the Holley Community Center, or call 585-638-5750.

The garden shed acts as a doorway to the garden and also houses an array of garden tools and wheelbarrows.

Watering cans are lined up and ready for duty.

The first community members to rent raised beds pose in front of the garden. Friends Jennifer Anderson and Mylynda Kuba -pictured on the right side of the sign – say they are excited about the garden. “We are discussing what we are going to put in,” Kuba said. Anderson purchased the very first bed for Kuba as a birthday present. The two say they are looking forward to expanding their ability to garden. They can easily walk or ride bikes to the site. Kuba and Anderson became friends several years ago when they met during the Holley June Fest 5K race. They say the Community Garden will be another way to meet people in their community.

Two standing planting beds will make gardening easier for those with mobility challenges.  Eventually, the garden may be completely handicapped accessible, Mayor Sorochty and Sue Persia say. Sorochty said the village provided wood chips for mulch in the garden-bed area.  He said many of the chips came from trees and limbs downed during the March wind storm.  Holley Department of Public Works Superintendent David Nenni worked to create a parking area for the garden.  Village electric will also be connected to the site.

Sue Persia said 4-Hers created clever garden markers.  Those attending the event were welcome to select one.

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