We strive to create a welcoming and inviting atmosphere in which visitors, guests, and parishioners feel at home when they enter our churches. An important part of creating that welcoming environment is to make sure that both the inside and outside of the church are well-kept and cared for. As we wrapped up the big project of redoing the parking lot at St. John, a new ministry was created to finish the islands that were created with plants and landscaping that would look nice and extend that beautiful, welcoming space into our outdoor areas.
Ministry member Sharon Gibson does a lot of gardening, so being a part of this ministry was a natural use of her talents.
“These islands are too small to use a lawn mower on, so putting in lawn grass didn’t make sense,” she says. “We needed to come up with something that is minimum maintenance and helps to beautify our church.”
Gary Whitman has also been a big part of this project.
“The islands in the parking lot were in need of some curb appeal,” he says. “We went and talked with some experts at one of the local greenhouses. They were a great help, along with the Milwaukee County Extension website, where they had suggestions for plants that grow well in parking lot areas. The fill dirt that was used is very industrial soil, so it won’t support many types of plants. We are using decorative grasses and including as many native plants as we can.”
With the cold spring, it took a while for this project to get started, but the ministry put out a call for volunteers, and several people were happy to step up and help. Ron Nonnemacher and Jack Harder volunteered their tractor operating services to help with the project, which made a lot of the work easier. Until the plants are established, they will need to be watered frequently — but after that, they should take care of themselves. The church watering hoses can only reach some of the islands, while others must be watered by filling watering cans and hauling them out to the furthest away plants.
Ultimately, this big project is a labor of love from the parish stewards who desire to see the outside of our church looking cared for and nice. Once all of the plants are installed, the beds will be mulched.
“I’m sure there will need to be some adjustments made as we figure out if something doesn’t work for the space,” Gary says. “There will need to be some spring and fall maintenance as well, but we are looking forward to having the project finished and our outside space having a nice curb appeal.”
Anyone interested in helping with the Landscape Ministry may contact Sharon Gibson at email@example.com or 715-627-1014.