Spring may have just started, but volunteers in Nixa are already preparing for the holidays.
The Gardens at Woodfield is already home to 115 trees, but volunteers from the Azalea Festival Association will soon begin planting the conifers and holly trees for a Christmas garden.
One tree, a 10-12 foot Norway Spruce, will be Nixa’s official Christmas tree and will be the designated spot for festivities this December.
The city of Nixa owns the six acres of land, but they aren’t able to build on it because of a large sinkhole. So Nixa teamed up with the Azalea Association to develop the garden.
Everything is funded by grants, donations and fundraisers, and it takes the help of a lot of volunteers.
“As we develop the gardens more and more around the trails, it’s almost going to take on more of a natural setting, especially as the trees mature,” said Dow Whiting, Volunteer with the Azalea Festival Association. “It’s never going to be Central Park, but it’s a nice place to relax, get away.”
The first trees were planted in the summer of 2011 and Nixa added the half-mile walking trail, lights and a parking lot in 2012.
“Everybody that comes here loves it,” Whiting said. “We have a lot of walkers, especially in the nicer times of the year, spring and fall particularly, but a lot of the local residents come here on a daily basis, sometimes twice a day, to walk.”
There are also 26 individual gardens, some of them memorial gardens, with more scheduled to be planted.
“All of the green space that you see between the trails, outside the trails, will all be gardens, there won’t be any grass area left,” Whiting said. “The only grass area that’ll be left is this big sinkhole area that holds water in the spring when it rains a lot. So everything else will be planted in gardens.”
A lot depends on funding and volunteers, but the 10-year plan is to have a garden oasis that everyone can enjoy.
“You’ve got the birds chirping in the background, you’ve got the bees and the butterflies and it’s just nice to be outside in a relaxing atmosphere,” Whiting said.
The Azalea Association holds several events each year to raise money, including their annual festival and a 5K run in September.
For more information on the gardens at the Azalea Association, visit their website.
To volunteer, contact Dow Whiting at firstname.lastname@example.org