Greenfield YMCA garden gets facelift thanks to volunteers

  • Nancee Bershof is planting a garden in front of the Greenfield YMCA. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Nancee Bershof is planting a garden in front of the Greenfield YMCA. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 11/15/2019 12:57:29 PM
Modified: 11/15/2019 12:57:15 PM

GREENFIELD — Nancee Bershof loves to garden, so when she was given the opportunity to plant one on the sloped grassy area in front of the YMCA in Greenfield, she took it.

“We want this to be a really welcoming feature, and we get to heal the environment at the same time,” Bershof, who has been “very active” at the Y for many years, said.

YMCA Chief Executive Officer Grady Vigneau said he was on board with the idea the moment he heard it.

“I love that we’re bringing color and a nice ‘welcome’ to the Y,” he said.

Bershof, a retired doctor who has lived in Greenfield since 1981, said the emphasis on the garden will be native plants that attract pollinators. She said not all of the plants will be native, but most will.

So far, she and a few volunteers, including Vigneau’s wife Merry, have planted echinacea, coneflowers, mums and more. She said Vigneau has also helped a couple of times.

Bershof said they will plant a mix of annuals and perennials that have been donated by others. She said she will be planting bulbs, including daffodils, so that they are the first to pop up in the spring.

“We’ll have lots of color,” she said.

Bershof arrives on a warm, late-October morning with a basket full of garden tools, a few donated plants, gardening gloves, some twine and a watering can.

“We’re going to plant some day lilies,” she said. “They’re not really native, but their nice.”

Bershof said she, Vigneau and others hope to not only improve the Main Street entrance to the Y, but will also be working on other areas once they’ve finished the front garden.

“This garden is just the beginning,” she said.

She said they’re doing “lasagna gardening,” when means they’re laying different layers —nutrients, compost, cardboard, mulch.

“That makes for a great foundation of a health garden,” she said.

Bershof said Nasami Farm Nursery Native Plant Trust in Whately, as well as individuals in the community.

“We’ll do the majority of our planting in the spring,” she said.

Bershof said she will leave two grassy pathways so that people don’t walk through the garden.

“Some walk through now from where they park on Main Street, so hopefully they’ll use the pathways,” she said.

Bershof was one of the co-creators who designed the garden at the John Zon Community Center. She said gardening has always been a passion.

“I hope this gets others interested in gardening,” Bershof said. “I hope we get more volunteers.”

She said the best way for people to donate plants or volunteer is to go to the visitors’ desk at the Y. She said they also hope to harvest or receive “bigger” rocks, making them a prominent feature of it.

“They should leave their contact information, and we’ll get ahold of them,” she said.

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-9591, ext. 269 or

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