For the second straight year, residents of Milwaukee neighborhoods purchased low-cost flowers and planted them at their homes and community gardens as part of the city’s Bloom and Groom event.
A project of Milwaukee Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative (HNI), Bloom and Groom aimed to beautify neighborhoods and foster cooperation within communities.
The event, co-sponsored by Lowe’s, which contributed $18,000 worth of flowers and free delivery, included low-cost flower sales in each participating neighborhood.
Fransisco Sandoval, who attended the Layton Boulevard West Neighbors (LBWN) Bloom and Groom with his wife, purchased lilies and coneflowers.
“My house needed something nice for the front yard,” said Sandoval as he paid about $10 for the annuals.
Sandoval was one of hundreds who attended community-building activities held at three LBW locations.
Volunteers turned over soil and planted at two community gardens, one in Burnham Park and the other at the pocket park on the corner of South 29th and West Burnham Avenue that replaced a demolished nuisance property.
Bill Baskerville, who tended to a plot at the pocket park, began at 8:30 in the morning planting tomatoes, beets, green beans and cucumbers.
“I’m doing it for the good of the community,” Baskerville said.
Other Bloom and Groom events were held in the Havenwoods, Lincoln Village, Thurston Woods, Enderis Park, Holler Park, Sherman Park and Amani neighborhoods.
Organizers of the Amani event invited visitors to explore an art exhibit, while at Lincoln Village visitors were introduced to the new “Peoples Park,” an educational and recreational addition to the neighborhood.
David Weber, community outreach liaison for the city of Milwaukee, explained that providing low-cost flowers to residents was secondary. The event’s real goal is to get people from the neighborhoods to spend time together.
Each location hosted a block party after the flower sale.
“We want neighbors to come out and get to know each other; to care about each other,” Weber said.