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Spring wildflowers planted at park
MARYSVILLE — When Doleshel Park was officially dedicated on Feb. 22, city of Marysville Parks and Recreation Director Jim Ballew promised that they would return to plant wildflowers in the spring.
On Tuesday, May 6, city of Marysville Parks Maintenance Manager Mike Robinson was aided in keeping that promise, not only by members of Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop 106, but also by members of the Marysville stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose thousands of hours of volunteer labor over the past three years were cited by Marysville Mayor John Nehring on Feb. 22 as instrumental in transforming a former Christmas tree farm into a passive nature park.
Robinson estimated that the 35 wildflower seed packets that he dispensed to parents and children alike that afternoon contained 75 seeds each. Given that his goal was for his volunteer crew to plant 25 seeds per square foot, that meant that each seed packet could cover three square feet.
“All told, we’re planting about 15,000 seeds in 600 square feet of soil,” Robinson said on May 6. “The plot is 10 feet by 60 feet, and it curves with the naturally sloping topography of the site, rather than being laid out in straight lines. The soil was freshly tilled today, and is soft enough that your feet will sink three inches deep if you walk through it.”
To that end, a trio of dads did indeed walk through the soil, one of them barefoot, to help further turn the soil, as Robinson explained to his younger volunteers the importance of sprinkling the seeds over the ground fairly evenly.
“Since some of these seed packets are for shorter wildflowers, what I might have you do is line the edges of the plot with the shorter wildflowers, and plant the taller wildflowers in the middle,” Robinson said. “We didn’t want this plot to be too close to the fence, because these wildflowers can grow tall enough — 48 inches high, in some cases — to be visible from the road. This plot’s location was also chosen because it offers full sunlight for sun-loving wildflowers, which should be blooming in about six weeks from now.”
While older kids, like 11-year-olds Cole Martin and Aaron Abele, took to the task fairly quickly, some of the younger tots, such as Norina Abele’s other children, needed their moms and dads to demonstrate how to sprinkle the seeds without just dumping them in clumps.
“If they’re crowded too close together, they wind up competing for nutrients,” Robinson said on May 6. “After they finish planting the seeds, I’ll go over them with the roller. Between that and everyone walking over the plot as they’re planting, it’ll drive the seeds even deeper, and by tomorrow or the next day, we should have some nice rain for them.”
“My kids love playing in a park that they helped to build,” Norina Abele said. “Back before this was even a park, we were out here trimming the trees and putting the branches into piles for the wood-chipper.”
Although three of Shari Hubbert’s boys had already completed their Eagle Scout projects in Marysville parks, none of them were for Doleshel Park, but like Abele’s children, that doesn’t mean that Hubbert’s kids weren’t just as active in transforming the tree farm into a city park.
“Kids who serve develop a love for their community,” Hubbert said. “They see that lots of community members care, and it makes them care, and it inspires everyone to become part of building a better community. Our family recently took a trip to Los Angeles, and our kids were shocked at the amount of trash that wasn’t being picked up. It’s a good lesson to learn, that caring and doing is what makes the difference in a community.”
“The way these wildflowers’ life cycle works is that they’ll grow this spring and summer, and then, when we mow them down in the fall, we’ll be incorporating their seed heads into the soil,” Robinson said. “That timely mowing will allow us to take advantage of their natural regeneration.”
“It’s not a playground, but a place to enjoy nature,” Ballew said. “We have three resident deer here, and seeing them is quite magical.”
Doleshel Park is located at 9028 67th Ave. NE, adjacent to Kellogg Marsh Elementary and the Wilcox Farm Community Garden, and its hours are from 7 a.m. to dusk.