RIVERSIDE – The children's garden in front of the Riverside Public Library had two caretakers last week: members of the Bolchert family and Mother Nature.
Local children helped construct the beds and plant vegetable seeds near the library May 18 as part of the FRED Build-a-Bed project. Overseen by the Frederick Law Olmsted Society, the garden will sprout tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, lettuce, onions, peas and a variety herbs, said Shawn Sinn, a member of the Olmsted Society's Board of Directors.
"For the bulk of the summer, the garden will be tended by children in the Riverside Recreation Department's play camp," Sinn said. "But before and after that, we'll need local families to tend the garden. We've been recruiting volunteers to take on the responsibility of watering and weeding the garden for one week at a time."
Maria Bolchert, her husband and two children agreed to take the first week, from May 20 to May 27. They came out faithfully every day prepared to provide the garden whatever it needed.
But water wasn't really necessary toward the end of the week. The rainy weather gave the garden plenty to drink. Still, Bolchert said it's been a rewarding experience for her family to become involved in community gardening.
"This is our first step into it. We were walking by during the Riverside Arts [Weekend], and saw them planting. I had read about it as well," Bolchert said. "So we walked by it, and the kids helped out by planting. And they said, 'We need volunteers,' so we volunteered for that. We're at the library a lot, so that was part of it."
Sinn said this project is a prelude to the Frederick Law Olmsted in Riverside Education and Design program to be held Sept. 21. This program will offer classes in landscaping and design, she said.
Last year's FRED program was preceded for four months by Planters on Parade. Planters painted by local artists were displayed throughout the village.
The FRED Build-a-Bed project is geared toward getting children interested in landscaping, design and gardening, Sinn said.
"I believe we had eight kids show up for installation [May 18]," Sinn said. "All the materials used were donated by Home Depot in Countryside."
The Olmsted Society continues to recruit volunteers to adopt the children's garden for one week. A sign-up sheet is available in the library, 1 Burling Road.