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Did You Know?Dave DeGraaf and Don DeNooyerclearing away last year’s leaves and de- bris,” said Dave. He also explained that this is the time of year to order new plants and seeds. “We order from the Allegan Conservation District’s Native Plant Sale. This year we are focusing on plants that grow from one to two feet tall.” Don and Dave built the raised bed so more flow- ers could be seen and visitors don’t have to move the taller plants around to enjoy them. “It took a couple years to see that we needed to stay with the shorter plants in the raised bed because the taller onesBY KATHY BANFIELD SHAWwas so hardy in my garden would be a native, but nope... I discovered they are native to Sicily and southern Italy. So, why am I talking about native plants? At Leila Arboretum therewant to plant in their own garden.”is the Miss Iva Doty Na-tive Flower Garden, whichis maintained by two vol-unteers, Dave DeGraaf andDon DeNooyer. “We tookover the maintenance of thegarden from Sharon Linklat-er about four years ago,” saidDave. “We enlarged it, addeda raised bed, and surroundedit with brick to make it more accessible.” Dave has been volunteering since he retiredin 2007 and met up with his volunteer-mate, Don. Theyfirst worked on the PeaceLabyrinth, “It was in need ofweeding,” Dave said with asmile. “And there were plants that need- ed to be removed or transplanted to more appropriate places in the arboretum... so we did that.”would droop and cover up the shorter plants,” Dave explained. “And then there are the more dominating plants... like Sweet Pea. Those tend to reseed any- where and everywhere,” Dave said with a smile. “We had to dig them out and move them to a place where it didn’t matter if they spread.”area and planted crabapple trees.”Dave is a native of Kalamazoo and after graduating from Calvin College and receiving his Master’s Degree at West- ern Michigan University spent 27 years working as a computer programmer at the Federal Center here in Battle Creek. Dave told me he and his wife Kathy made the decision to move to Battle Creek partly because they were tired of the commute on I-94. Dave said after raising their fam-This is the season for spring clean-up at the arboretum and, as many of you have noticed, in your own gardens. “Spring cleanup is mostly trimming, pruning, andDid You Know that Sweet Pea, you know that pretty pastel flower you see in your garden and along the road- side, is not native to Michigan? You’d think a flower thatSpring clean-up is a pretty intense time for the volunteers who normally spend about four hours a week at the ar- boretum, but in spring that might increase a bit. You’d never know by looking at the garden in March that by mid-June it will be in full flower. “Usually from mid-June until the first frost the Native Garden is a splash of color,” said Dave. He tells me this year’s project at the Native Garden is labeling all the plants. “There are some labels, but we want people to know the names of the plants they’re seeing andDave and Don earned their Master Gardener certificate in 2007 and that is when they began volunteering at Leila Arboretum. Their first proj- ect, the Peace Labyrinth, has evolved over the years since Dave and Don started main- taining it. “Yeah, there were a lot of weeds in it when we first started,” Dave said. “We removed a few larger plants and shrubs that would be better enjoyed in other areas of the arboretum. There’s a stone wall that overlooks the labyrinth. We cleaned that• Over 300 Booths on Two Floors• Stairs and Elevator to Second Floor • Limited Dealer Space Available• Brown’s Clock Repair9247 West Chicago Road, Allen, Michigan 517-869-2888 / allenantiquebarn@hotmail.comwww.allenantiquebarn.comHours: 10:00-5:00 – 7 DaysOWNER: BRYCE McCOWAN6 SCENE 4404 I WOMEN IN BUSINESSily here, “It was a good decision.”Dave invites others to join Don and him at Leila Arboretum volunteering to maintain its 85 acres of trees, shrubs, and “native” plants. “Someone has to keep the quack grass in control,” Dave laughs.“Might as well be me!”You can view Leila Arboretum onthe website at but a better view is seeing it in person at 928 West Michigan Avenue in Battle Creek, Michigan.

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