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Adopting a Roundabout – Part 2

Our Roundabout in March 2009

Orphan Roundabout, March 2009


Back in February (was it that long ago?!), I wrote about our Sustainable Capitol Hill gardening plan.  One part of that plan is to adopt a neglected roundabout in our neighborhood.  It’s symbolic more than anything:  it helps beautify the neighborhood, inspires people to garden, and it is a bit of advertising for us as a group, so we can get more people involved in what we’re doing.


At the end of March, I wrote about our tour of neighborhood roundabouts to find an “orphan” to adopt.


After our tour, we inquired about four roundabouts (also known as “traffic circles) at the city’s Department of Transportation.  And a wonderful thing happened!  The woman from the city called the four people registered to take care of each of these roundabouts.  Two of them called back and said, “no, don’t give it away!” and proceeded to work on them immediately.  Our call inspired them to take action, and those two roundabouts are now thriving!


Of the two that were still available, we decided to “beta test” one, to make sure we had the time and resources to adopt it effectively.  As an aside, I will say that a project like this, though small, takes three busy people to make happen (or one less-busy person).  Fortunately, three of us stepped up to the plate to organize this at one point or another, and we made it happen.


So on Memorial Day, five of us met at 9:30 am to plant the circle!


At our Family Allotment, you may remember that my mother and I have been slowly replacing ornamentals with edible food plants.  Well, we’ve been setting aside several of the more drought-resistant plants for the roundabout.  So my job was to bring the plants.  Guillaume’s job was to bring the compost.  With tools we all brought from home, Alexis, Anne, Ariel, Guillaume, and I set to work!


Weeding the Roundabout

Weeding the Roundabout (photo taken from my phone’s camera)


We knocked on a neighbor’s door and asked to borrow his hose.  He was more than happy with what we were doing, and helped us stretch it down to the street, where we used a bucket to carry it across to the roundabout.


After several months of neglect, our roundabout was absolutely COVERED with weeds.  As we started in on the weeds, a family drove past and stopped, rolling down their window:  “We just wanted to say, thank you for what you’re doing,” they said.


Pretty soon, another driver did the same.  Then a bicyclist.  Then two passers-by stopped to watch.  One even took pictures.  As we progressed, more and more people stopped to say thank you.  It was incredible.  In the two hours we were there, at least 20 people thanked us for what we were doing.


And a woman bicycling by stopped and asked if we’d like some of her irises.  She’ll be bringing 3 types of irises from her garden in the next few days!  She also said she’d also help keep an eye on the watering and such, since she bicycles past every day.

Here’s what our roundabout looks like now:

Our Roundabout in May 2009

Adopted Roundabout, May 2009

Even the finches and pigeons are happy with it.  And with the irises coming, and some donations from our local nursery, we’ll be adding some nice color soon. 


What a fun way to bring the community together.


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