ILION – The Ilion Community Garden is finally officially a garden after members spent Saturday afternoon planting four apple trees and 10 blueberry bushes.
After a small ground breaking ceremony and ribbon cutting, about a dozen volunteers made short work of planting the Cortland and Honey Crisp apple trees and two varieties of blueberries, as well as erecting the garden’s first raised bed.
“This is our first installation,” said Amanda Norton, founder of the Ilion Community Garden. “It’s a big ground
breaking for us and we’re all very excited.”
Leading up to Saturday’s planting, village DPW workers took down three trees in the community garden’s designated area along East Main Street.
“They were old and large with branches coming down,” Norton said. “It was a safety concern. I’m so thankful to the village for helping us out on that. They saved us about $3,000.”
Next on the garden members’ list is to till a strip of ground along the road to plant a bee and pollinator flower mix, and to continue acquiring lumber for additional raised garden beds, Norton said.
“I’m super excited about this not only for ourselves but for the whole community,” said volunteer Cajaida Denney. “This is truly a community type of thing and I love that.”
Norton and a small committee of volunteers have been hard at work fundraising and drumming up support since the garden’s inception in the spring of 2018. After considering a number of possible locations throughout Ilion, Norton and village officials settled on the park running parallel to East Main Street last November. The group earned 501c3 status in January 2019.