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Mixin' in the Village Gravy by Amy Magnusgrading

BLOG-How to Get to C-Street

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My task was simple enough: Bring a bouquet of flowers to the groundbreaking of a new home. I volunteered readily to the request when it first posted. I had a neglected collection of vases at home and a hydrangea bush loaded with flowerheads, each the shape, weight, and color of a soft-packed snow ball. Mid Friday morning, I gathered seven plump bundles of florets and stacked them in a broad lipped vase. The hydrangea were beautiful—at the peak of their bloom—but overly formal and rather one note. Across the road, I could see a remedy to monotony in the fiery yellow flame of my neighbors’ black eye susans. With more color and a variety of contributions from friends and neighbors, we could collectively create a festive bouquet. Within an hour later of posting a request online, I had invitations to six local gardens and a wonderful way to weave from home to Cemetery Street and the latest Yellow Springs Home, Inc. project in affordable housing.

hydrangeaCarol Cottom's contribution

The first two gardens I visited were on the south end of the village, Carol’s and Lisa’s respectively. The first garden gushed with knee-high daisies. The youthful flowers seemed to shiver in anticipation at a mere glance. With discretion, I selected four daisies and two stems of dwarf black eyed susans. I then moved on to my second benefactor. Among her shoulder-high grasses, I found a hydrangea bush featuring bluish green florets. From its generous blooms, I selected a single umbrella-shaped head to serve as a central organizing piece in the bouquet.

Laura Skidmore's contributionJen Clark's contribution

I headed north of town next: first to a home near the entrance of John Byran Park and then to another just past the borderline between Greene and Clark Counties. From Jyoti’s meadows, I collected dashing bits of intrigue: foot high clover stems, four deliciously detailed bachelor buttons, and a single red-purple cone flower. At Jen’s farm, I harvested hot orange chrysanthemum, pearl-white Queen Anne’s Lace, and grass stalks with tall bottlebrush tails. On the north east corner of town, I was invited to pick black eyed susans from Laura’s front garden. Their full-sized blossoms were the size of pancakes and emanated with the delicious scent of melted butter. Returning to the village’s heart, I selected two final stems…cutleaf yellow coneflowers from Ellen’s corner plants; there, the towering blooms crested a head taller than myself.

community bouquetExecutive Director Emily Seibel

Before checking in on the event preparations underway the Yellow Springs Home, Inc. offices, 202 S Winter Street, I arranged the diverse floral elements—short and tall, flecked and swooping, bold and playful—in an antique pitcher. I worked to preserve each garden’s contribution and to establish a balance in which the larger components did not overshadow the bouquet’s finer details. No branch went to waste. The collection came together in tight cohesive medley.

bringing home the mission

Joining the gathering crowd at the afternoon groundbreaking, I placed the community bouquet and turned to witness a much greater accumulation of efforts. The land trust, the village, the builder, the sponsors, and the family have worked for over two years to get to this moment. Here, the dream of home ownership finally transitions into the tangible. A plot of ground has been staked out, and the site of a future three bedroom home is now defined and dedicated.


While the event unfolded, the children in attendance clamored over a 30-foot bed of overturned dirt on the front lawn. Representing the village, the Honorable Karen Wintrow looked out to the children and recounted her own experience of building a family home in Yellow Springs. She warned the Wyant family that here is a familiar sight in her own experience…children playing at a construction yard…one which she expects the whole neighborhood to become accustomed soon.

utility crewspipes ready to install

After the ceremony, the five members of Wyant family were inclined to linger. Erica Wyant asked Emily Seibel’s assistance tracing the boundaries of the tree-lined property. After feeling out the bounds of the newly acquired lot that will host their home, the family walked past the makeshift fence of white picket chairs and gold ceremonial shovels to their car, their youngest child perched on the shoulders of their oldest boy as they went. Next to the car sat dirt-stained construction vehicles poised for the work of adding utility lines to the C-Street properties.

In front of the construction vehicles, a supply of water pipes await their place in life and considerable contribution to the project. Our multifaceted community has worked diligently to position these elements of sustenance. By assembling each these elements, the sustained community has collectively found its way to C-Street and will long reap the way’s enrichment.


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