By Bret Johnson

In the spirit of our 150th Anniversary, Lakeside teens are creating a garden as their gift to the community. The perennial beds will be in the Memorial Garden at Chautauqua Park, enhancing the beauty of this special place.

This summer, teens reflected on the “Seven Practices of Building Community.” Through conversations, opportunities were identified to support each area. The perennial garden project supports many of the practices but focuses primarily on the sixth, which is, “Being Good Stewards and Honoring Places and Spaces.”

The garden will be planted in stages, beginning this summer and completed next spring. Under the design and direction of Lakeside’s Master Gardener Loretta Wilken, the space will serve as a place for people visiting the Memorial Garden to reflect, relax and enjoy the surroundings.

Creating a garden using perennials is significant as it’s a sign of growth and a place to return to year after year. Our goal was to create a place where the teens that gathered this summer at Lakeside could come back to. It’s a “touchstone” that reminds the young people of their involvement in the community as a youth, and then again as they mature.

The Perennial Garden Project demonstrates the community support of our young people. Special thanks to Lakesiders David and Sandy Stinchcomb, who encouraged the project with a generous financial gift. The Lakeside Grounds Crew will lead the transformation of this space. Teenagers will assist in the final planting next spring.

The Lakeside community provides “fertile soil” for young people to grow. As conversations unfolded this summer, teens shared repeatedly how this community provides so much care and concern for them. This project is an opportunity for Lakeside teens to honor not only spaces and places but the community of Lakeside. Be sure to visit the Memorial Garden next summer to see how our garden grows.