Volunteers restoring the St. Ann median
The gardens in the traffic medians at St. Ann Drive and St. Margaret Drive, just off Richmond Road, aim to provide an attractive entry to the Idle Hour neighborhood. They are managed by the Median Volunteers, a group of Lexington gardeners, mostly from the Idle Hour Neighborhood, for whom I serve as the coordinator. The LFUCG Division of Environmental Services has given us permission to landscape these spaces, and has promised support, as long as we are mindful of traffic safety concerns and observe certain plant choices.

The plants in these gardens are mostly native to eastern North America and must cope with our hot summers and dry autumns. They grow in a tough environment surrounded by asphalt on all sides. There is no access to water, except what falls from the sky. Still, our goal is to maintain a pollinator friendly landscape in the neighborhood's entryways.

We welcome the support of anybody who cares about the appearance of the Idle Hour neighborhood and who can work 2 hours a month helping with weeding, mulching, planting or mowing. Picking up trash is also an important chore, especially at St. Ann.

To ask questions or offer help, please send me a text: 859-619-9202, or email: beatepopkin@livinggardenskentucky.com

A bit of recent history
Ten years ago the two traffic islands which divide the first block of St. Ann Drive and St. Margaret Drive were long oval shaped greenspaces covered in turf grass and each planted with two red oaks and two redbuds. St. Margaret also had the large white pine at the Coburn end which is still there, and St. Ann had a weedy shrub at that end which is long gone. In 2013 and 2014 the Idle Hour Neighbors Alliance obtained two Sustainability Grants from the City of Lexington to beautify these spaces with plants that support pollinating insects, birds and other small wildlife. The Neighbors Alliance managed the installation of the plants and cared for them originally, but it no longer maintains them now.

During the brief existence of these more elaborate gardens, the medians were twice subject to serious construction work, first to replace the curbs around them, and then to make room for left turning lanes onto Richmond Road. Much was lost at St. Ann, where the turning lane is very long and required the removal of one oak and one redbud in addition to substantially reducing the planting area. The plants at St. Margaret largely survived the last construction. The narrow strips in both medians near Richmond Road were not properly seeded with grass after construction so that only weed grasses grew there in the summer of 2019. Early in 2020, the turf in these strips needs to be restored.