Garden transforming thanks to volunteers

NEW CUMBERLAND – The corner of North Chestnut and Jackson streets may be just one lot, but its transformation into a demonstration garden already has inspired hundreds of volunteer hours.

On Saturday, more than 30 people gathered at the site to do cleanup work and develop a plan for the garden – a project launched earlier this year by the nonprofit organization Magic Tree Inc.

Founded by New Cumberland natives Patrick and Adam Vulgamore, Magic Tree is still in the early stages of supporting projects, such as the garden, that “educate, facilitate and demonstrate a green and sustainable lifestyle,” according to the website

Once prepared, the 45-by-100-foot lot will support a series of raised beds for vegetables and herbs, Vulgamore said. Flowers, grasses, shrubs and trees also will adorn the property, he said.

Volunteers under the direction of George Hines, a Magic Tree board member, have cleared the site of brush, trees and an old storage shed. They also have cleared the stream that runs through the lot of bricks, rocks, trash and overgrowth, in addition to prepping the site for planting.

Among those participating in Saturday’s West Virginia “Make It Shine” Day event was Mirjana “Mira” Bulatovic-Danilovich, consumer horticulture specialist for the West Virginia University Extension Service. Danilovich has developed an initial design for the New Cumberland garden, as well as a list of 26 plants and materials for potential use in the garden.

Also assisting with the garden will be members of the Tri-State Area Master Gardener Association, a program of the Hancock County office of the WVU Extension Service. The Master Gardener Program, with which Danilovich also is involved, trains people in various aspects of gardening and horticulture and organizes them to do volunteer service.

Free educational programs for children and adults are planned at the garden this summer. They include:

* Companion planting and garden design;

* Know your soil: pH testing and preparing for your garden;

* Natural pesticides and animal control;

* Garden discovery: Learning to plant and play in the garden;

* Composting 101;

* Maximize your garden for your kitchen: Vegetables and herbs to have at home;

* Watering and irrigation; and

* Hot beds for hot peppers.

Anyone interested in joining the effort is invited to volunteer for the community garden planting event that will be scheduled for late May. The organization is accepting donations of plants, materials and signs that can be used at the site.

For more information on how to volunteer or donate, visit the Magic Tree website: