A self-described “late bloomer” has been recognized for her efforts to bring more blooms and beauty to Connecticut Avenue at Van Ness.
A standing room crowd at the April 26th Van Ness Main Street annual meeting watched as Kathy Sykes received the first annual “Spirit of Van Ness” award for her contributions to the “greening” of Van Ness.
Sykes has spent countless hours planting pollinator gardens in tree boxes and planters in front of 4340 Connecticut Avenue, assisting Days Inn and Acacia with their plantings and flower boxes, and creating planters in back of Bread Furst.
Sykes’ passion for gardening began with the tree boxes outside her building on the 4500 block of Connecticut Avenue. She’s a late bloomer, she says, following in her mother’s footsteps.
“My mother was an amazing gardener in Madison, Wisconsin. We used to get mail from strangers all the time thanking my mother for her lovely garden and places around the city she volunteered,” Sykes said.
This spring, she completed the master gardener program at UDC and is currently finishing up its 50 mandatory volunteer hours by working at the UDC vegetable garden, Peabody Elementary School on Capitol Hill, and at Hillwood Gardens. She expects to fulfill this requirement by the end of June.
Theresa Cameron, the executive director of Van Ness Main Street and Sarah Cumbie, the board’s president, presented the award to Sykes.
“Kathy has been a very important part of Van Ness Main Street’s attempt to help create beautiful native landscaping in Van Ness by planting some of tree boxes and containers in Van Ness,” said Cameron. “The amount of time, effort and resources she spends on this work truly exemplifies the spirit of Van Ness.”
Sykes finds the work fulfilling.
“I have met so many neighbors and people just visiting while I am out in the garden sites with my husband. I believe gardening builds community and makes places more pleasurable to enjoy while walking around the neighborhood,” Sykes said.