Gemma's story of her yard isn't one you hear about often. This Desert Storm Veteran lives in her childhood home. Trees and plants that she and her father installed when Gemma was a child, are still alive and well on the property. Here, Gemma stands next to her Spruce, affectionately referred to as Vernado. Vernado was planted when Gemma was eight years old
The yard that Gemma recalls as a child you can see in the photographs she shares. Today, there are many adolescent maples, a very old Apple tree and a drainage issue. All of this needs to be addressed before we can even think about a plan for the yard.
Gemma's father planted a fig tree in their front yard. It's gorgeous, but it's getting overshadowed by Vernado, so we'll have to work on that.
Our friends at JDC Construction were ready to work on the drain, trees and fence removal when the state of PA was shut down due to COVID-19. We were all disappointed, but we needed everyone safe.
If you've volunteered with us, then you know we ask EVERYONE to lend a hand, even if only for a few hours. Today, was different. We asked for 10 volunteers. And we got them! Here they pose with Gemma in her front yard. The mission for today: Clear out as much as you can to prep for drain work, fence and tree removal.
What's more amazing than our volunteers? Our volunteers that bring their family. Here, Dana and her daughter tackle fallen branches on the patio.
Volunteers, Jen and her daughter Riley clear out an area against the house to hopefully make way for a new flower bed that Gemma and her nephew can plant.
Volunteer Joe goes to work to remove the tops of the nuisance Maple trees, so now Gemma and her family can actually see through to the top of the yard! Nice work, Joe!
Gemma stopped by a local Italian Market and grabbed tomato pie, water and ice tea for the team. Thank you, Gemma! Perfect for a balmy day.
HG Summer Intern, Sarah talks poison ivy with Board member Dawn, while Jen and Riley continue working on the side of the house (background).
Volunteer Heather spent the entire day in a Zen mode. She pruned a large hydrangea on the side of the house. Tremendous work, Heather!
Advisory board member, Teresa and volunteer Lara, social distance their teamwork efforts!
We can't thank our team enough for today's hard work. With much of the weeds and limbs cleared out, we can now work on the drain, tree and fence removal. Awesome job, team! We'll see you soon.
At 7:30am, they assembled to fix the drain in the upper yard and remove fencing to open up the property.
Pictured here: Homeowner and US Army Veteran Gemma, with the JDC Construction Team and a few of the Heroic Gardens team (including Horticultural Advisor Peg hiding in the shade back there).
Frank, the lead excavator from JDC, started up the generator and got to work trying to solve the mystery behind this clogging drain. When it rains, there is nowhere for the water to go, and as a result, it's flooding the yard.
Lucky for us, Frank figured out the problem and the solution in under an hour.
Todd, from the JDC Team, removes fencing that is no longer needed and will open up the entire backyard.
Around front, Advisory Board member Peg, talks with Gemma about why a tree has sap.
JDC Construction Owner, Dave Costantini, his son Michael and Board member Dawn, check the water pressure based on Frank's work above.
We can't thank JDC Construction for the time, equipment, skill and willingness to give back to a Veteran.
In under 4 hours, Gemma's drain is fixed, and she no longer has a fence separating her yard. Stay tuned for our next phase of this project.
Arrived early on the job and donated the entire day to tree removal at Gemma's. Here they are with Gemma and Board member, Dawn.
The Shades of Green team removed all of the nuisance trees in the backyard.
Thank you, Shades of Green team! Gemma's yard will have new apples trees in 2021.
Volunteer Sarah joins Gemma and Advisory Board member Teresa as the 17 volunteers arrived to prep the property for planting.
US Marine, Paul, works with Advisory Board member, Peg to measure out and assemble the raised beds for Gemma's vegetable garden.
This crew of civilians and veterans, first time and seasoned volunteers were able to accomplish all of the tasks in a little under 2 hours. Great teamwork!