You have probably noticed her as you have wound your way down Longcommon Road in Riverside — you know, the lady weeding and planting in the Long Common.
Curiosity got the best of me and on Sunday, and Husband Joe and I stopped at the corner of Longcommon and Nuttall, where she was peacefully working, and introduced ourselves.
Her name is Carolyn Huson and she is the “bed steward” for the lower two-thirds of park land along Longcommon, with the exception of the Big Ball Park.
She is is one of those unknown, but much appreciated volunteers, who participates in the village’s Adopt-A-Bed program. The day we saw her, she was weeding and planting Pussytoes, a native perennial ground-cover planting.
She learned about the program after attending an Olmsted Society meeting and attending Landscape Advisory Commission meetings. Huson is not just weeding, but beautifying the park lands with plantings she has grown from seed in her home which she tends to over the winter months.
Other plantings, including low-growing, native perennials are purchased. She logs her time and at the end of the year hands her work sheets to Riverside Forester Mike Collins and Public Works Director Ed Bailey to review and go over with them. She credits the two men with giving her much help, and refers to Riverside resident Bob Finn, who also has been instrumental in assembling volunteers, as another source of help.
Huson says when you see her working in the parks, she is having fun and encourages others to join in the fun. Huson specifically mentioned Patriots Park on Parkway Road as place that could use some help.
She says you don’t have to know the difference between a weed and a plant, because there are people who are glad to help you and show you what needs to be done. To learn how you can be part of the program, go to the village of Riverside website www.riverside.il.us, and select “Commissions and Advisory Boards” from the “Your Government” drop down menu. Then click on the “Landscape Advisory Commission” link. Or you can contact the village at 442-2700.
Stop and tell her thank you for what she is doing, and I’m sure she will be glad to enlighten you on what she is planting and encourage you to get involved.