Commentary by Cindy Benedict
I dabble in gardening and adore the beauty, but find that I’m rather lazy at it. I always feel refreshed after digging about in the dirt, but somehow get too busy to make it a regular part of my life. As you can imagine, perennials are my friends since I get to be a weekend warrior a few times a year and then be excited as things pop up in my garden and bloom.
Because of this, it’s not surprising how much I love walking through the downtown courthouse square during the spring and summer. Without any work on my part I get to enjoy beautiful flowers in the many planters and hanging pots. In the winter, lovely mini Alberta spruce trees pop up in the boxes – some of which get decorated by shop owners.
I’ve often thought about the beautiful design and care that goes into these plantings. The thriving plants and combinations of color and height are not accidental. Meet Mona Stevens, a seasonal employee of Noblesville Parks and Recreation who has been caring for these many planters for 25 years. You might have met Stevens on the square as she thoughtfully beautifies our city. She loves to watch the people and chat on occasion as she tends to the plants. She not only tends to downtown, but has also done major plantings in Forest Park, at the golf courses, and at various city buildings during the years.
Although not currently active with the group, Stevens is one of the founding members of the Hamilton County Master Gardener Association. It is through them that she began volunteering for the city on the downtown flowers. Back then they used half whisky barrels for the plantings. Stevens also ran a small business which helped seniors maintain their home yards and gardens. Soon the parks department asked Stevens to join their team.
“Mona truly is an artist at her craft. She is so faithful and dedicated to her job. The community is very blessed to have her,” said Parks Director Brandon Bennett.
Stevens told me that, “I consider my plantings to be my art and I’m proud of them.” Thank you, Stevens, for your artistry, dedication, and hard work to make Noblesville shine. Next time you are downtown be sure to stop and notice her art. If you happen to see her watering or pruning, give her a nod and a smile. Because of Stevens, we all get to be lazy gardeners and still smell the roses.
Cindy Benedict is manager of Vision Noblesville. She may be reached at 770-2007 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more, visit www.VisionNoblesville.com.