Every spring season since 2013, the Downtown Bangor Beautification Committee (DBBC) holds an Adopt-A-Garden program for the public and businesses in the Greater Bangor area. This project has allowed adopters to take parks, tree pits and hardscapes and turn them into flourishing, vibrant gardens. This year, even amidst the ongoing pandemic, the DBBC has continued to hold the Adopt-A-Garden program and plans to spread even more beauty throughout the city of Bangor.
Greg Edwards, an active member of the DBBC, shared that there is room for growth this year as there are more gardens to beautify than in previous years.
“We have 137 gardens, although we are looking to add another 10, so we’d have 147,” Edwards said. “Right now, 116 of those are adopted, so we are about 85% adopted. We have 21 gardens left, and it’ll be 31 left when we add the additional gardens.”
The gardens are all over the downtown Bangor area, and adopters have until June 1 to plant. If adopters do not plant by this deadline, the gardens are put back up for adoption. Usually, by the end of the season, almost all of the gardens are adopted.
“They are all over downtown and the focus tends to be around the parkway and spreads out towards Central Street,” Edwards said. “We have trouble getting people to adopt on the outskirts of town, but they usually all end up getting adopted by our deadline.”
To adopt a garden, there is a map available on the DBBC website, along with the Adopt-A-Garden application. On the map are red dots that indicate which gardens are available for adoption. Many gardens get re-adopted each year by their previous adopters. The blue dots indicate those that got re-adopted, as well as those who have been adopted already this season.
After gardeners fill out their applications and confirm their adoptions, they can participate in Big Dig Week in May. This is an event where all of the adopters come out and plant their gardens throughout the week. Adopters can choose any design they’d like for their gardens to add a personalized touch.
Once a garden is adopted, DBBC will provide adopters with signage to place in their garden letting the public know who has adopted each spot. Keep in mind that if you’d like to adopt a garden, then fences, garden lights and decorations are discouraged as the beauty of natural flowers and plants are the primary focus of Adopt-A-Garden.
For those who may be planting, make sure to conduct research beforehand on which plants and flowers would best prosper in the location of your prospective garden. Take into consideration how much sunlight each type of flower would need, how much water each would need and whether or not they are invasive species.
This year, as well as last year, the pandemic has benefited the Adopt-A-Garden program rather than put a damper on business. Since COVID-19 hit, adopted gardens have been improved even more as gardeners have had more free time on their hands due to quarantine and sometimes unemployment.
“In terms of effectiveness of the program, we actually saw an uptick in the amount of effort people put into their gardens as people were quarantining [last spring]. May was the perfect time for people to get outside and do stuff,” Edwards said. “They couldn’t do group events but they could certainly adopt a garden at that time with their families.”
With June 1 approaching, there is still time for University of Maine students to become involved if they’d like to adopt a garden. For those interested in Adopt-A-Garden, make sure to be prepared to spend time in downtown Bangor to handle the upkeep and presentation of your garden.
Students can also volunteer on a volunteer day, such as DBBC’s Spring Clean Up on April 25. Another volunteer opportunity is on May 15 during Big Dig Week, where students can volunteer to help plant flowers in the gardens.
For more information and status updates on the Adopt-A-Garden project, visit www.downtownbangor.com or visit the Downtown Bangor Beautiful Facebook page.