Lancaster County 4H University of Nebraska-Lincoln
University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County
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updated March 21, 2006

4-H'ers Help Install Flower Garden at Northeast Family Center

by Spencer Farley, 4-H member

Spencer planting
4-H member Spencer Farley (at left) plants hybrid iris.

A special place in Lincoln for me is the Northeast Family Center at Whitehall Mansion. I’ve grown up going to the Mansion with my mom for meetings and for special family gatherings. Whitehall Mansion is a great old house about a hundred years old.

Two new playgrounds were being donated and I wanted to help. The installation was moved from the summer to fall during school hours. Since I couldn’t help put the playground in, my mom and I tried to think of other ways to help. We came up with the idea of planting hybrid iris along the playground fence to help beautify the area. Our project started out small, but before we knew it our garden grew to 25 feet by 58 feet and would include plants and flowers that would bloom all season. With a project this big we needed help.

I am a member of the Lincoln Iris Society. I asked my fellow members if they would be willing to help. I was a little nervous getting up and speaking to the whole group but they were wonderful! Not only did they agree to help, but they voted to donate money to the project! Members also donated hybrid iris, daylilies and other plants.

I called on some local businesses to donate needed chemicals and flowering bulbs. We even got a park bench!

stones stones stones stones stones
Members of 4-H Teen Council shaped polished granite into stepping stone shapes. They transported, unloaded and placed the granite stepping stones in the garden.
Some 4-H members also helped with planting (right) the garden.
Planting garden

helpersMore than 25 4-H Teen Council members and parents helped shape and put granite stepping stones in the garden. Some Teen Council members also helped with planting.

It was really fun seeing all the people come together and work on the project. In all, we had nearly 100 volunteers. Even my best friend, who has never gardened, helped! The garden has nearly 500 flowering bulbs, around 200 hybrid iris, 30 hybrid daylilies and many other flowers and grasses. All donated. It was fun seeing the garden come together. Giving something back to the community feels good.

Northeast Lincoln Family Center - Web site

Visit the Garden Anytime: The public is welcome to visit the Northeast Family Center garden and playgrounds anytime. Flowers will be in bloom from April through late fall -- highlights include:

  • 500 flowering bulbs which bloom in April
  • 200 hybrid, tall bearded iris which bloom in late May
  • 30 hybrid daylilies which bloom in late June

Special Thanks: Spencer Farley and his family would like to thank the nearly 100 volunteers who helped with this community service project. Special thanks to Jean Pedersen (a 4-H parent and Extension Master Gardener) who was very involved in the planning, designing and installation of the flower garden.


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