Volunteers help plant 15,000 flowers at the Sunken Gardens

Updated: May. 15, 2021 at 6:12 PM CDT
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After missing the event last year due to the pandemic, the Sunken Gardens workers brought volunteers back for its annual Wake Up the Beds Event. Workers and volunteers planted 15,000 flowers on Saturday.

Sunken Garden workers said a project like this, without any help, takes staff about one to two weeks. But with dozens of volunteers, they got it done in just a few hours.

“It’s like we’re in paradise,” said Alice Reed, Sunken Gardens Gardener.

People from all over the world visit the Sunken Gardens yearly.

“We’ve had people stop by from Japan that heard about the garden in Japan and stops by and see it,” said Steve Nosal, City of Lincoln horticulturalists.

Saturday several people came out not to visit, but to get their hands dirty and plant flowers.

“We like to give the public an opportunity to come in,” said Reed. “They love to come in and do an area to come back and see what it looks like the following season. It sort of brings ownership to people.”

This year’s theme for the wake up the beds is ruby slippers, based on the movie the Wizard of Oz. The plan is to show the slippers and red flowers and the yellow brick road with yellow ones.

“We pick different pieces of the movie and we design around them,” said Nosal. “They’re an abstract using flowers and all of that.”

Organizers said last year was rough on them because volunteers were not allowed to help due to COVID-19. But with them all back this year, there’s a lot of excitement from staff.

“That’s what I think gardens bring to a lot of people is joy and happiness,” said Reed. “It makes everyone feel better about the world.”

And volunteers share that same emotion with the organizers.

“They take ownership in what they do and they’ll come back all summer long and say ‘I planted this bed,” said Nosal.

Staff at the Sunken Gardens have been planning this since September. They finished about a third of the garden on Saturday, and hope to have it all done in two weeks.

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