July 15th, 2024

Lethbridge man volunteering to create a more colourful, vibrant city


By Justin Sibbet - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on July 5, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDjsibbet@lethbridgeherald.com

Cities are often considered to have rather bland colour palettes, but one local man says this simply doesn’t have to be the case.

Timothy Robinson is in his second year of volunteering his time and money to help turn Lethbridge’s “boring” green spaces into a more colourful and visually diverse ecosystem. He says he does this because there is just not enough visual diversity on the side of the road.

“I decided to do some rogue planting because I’m tired of just seeing grass,” said Robinson. “So, I figured we might as well add some flowers to try and bring some pollinators and bring a little colour to the streets.”

Despite his efforts of planting poppies, echinacea’s and other colourful plants on 13 Street South, near Custom Indoor Grow, where Robinson is employed, the plants were destroyed late Friday afternoon.

“Someone just came by and mowed it all down.”

While this blow is certainly a step in the wrong direction, Robinson says he will be undeterred, with plans to restart immediately.

“I might go plant some more right now,” said Robinson, noting the recent rainfall would help jumpstart the life of the plants.

He says his choice in colour while planting was to enhance green spaces with more than just those colours commonly seen in urban centres.

“I also wanted ones that would be a good pop of colour as opposed to just being like a white or something,” said Robinson. “I feel like the city needs more colour and we can beautify it with just flowers.”

He says he has not remained entirely in one location, so some of his flowers still thrive.

“I’ve also gone down to the river bottom and I’ve done blooms around there as well,” said Robinson. “It makes it a little more interesting for the city.”

He says residents have been receptive to the idea, telling him they agree the city could do with a makeover.

“I’ve had quite a few people who have really enjoyed the flowers so far.”

He has been planting flowers since May of this year, but his endeavours originally began last spring, though with few positives.

“I tried doing some last season, but they didn’t take,” said Robinson. “I kind of learned from my mistakes on how to plant and when to plant.”

He says this is an entirely solo effort where the reward is self-accomplishment and a brighter place to live.

“I don’t get paid for it by any means. I buy the seed and go and spread it out myself,” said Robinson. “All volunteer work, all just in my free time.”

Despite the work being done alone, he had, prior to them being cut down, managed to plant enough seeds to genuinely transform the small sections of green space he had selected.

“I’ve probably planted 10,000 seeds just in (the area on 13 Street). That was a combination of wildflower seeds (and) poppy seeds.”

Robinson says some of the flowers had not taken to the soil, but the red poppies certainly did. That small effort, he says, could have big implications on Lethbridge in the long haul.

“If we take more initiative and get the city beautiful, I feel like it would also bring more tourism and more business into our city.”

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