As part of the RMIA’s new #BeautifyTheManor Initiative, the RMIA will be giving away free wildflower seeds to anyone interested in using them to spruce up the neighborhood (while supplies last). You can pick up a bag at one of our pop-up giveaway stations, which will be announced on our Instagram and Facebook pages. Think of it as a food truck but for free wildflower seeds! To kick things off, the first pop-up giveaway will be Tuesday, April 27th at the corner of Francisco and Manor near Ravenswood Manor Park and the Francisco Stop from 4:30 – 5:45pm.
If you can’t make it to one of our pop-ups, you can request a drop-off by submitting this form. Seeds are available on a first come first serve basis and will be delivered within a few days. For now we will limit bags to one per household.
SUBMIT YOUR WILDFLOWER PHOTOS: Once you’ve grown your flowers as described below, submit your “before” and (hopefully much more flowery) “after” photos and we will feature your shots on a future RMIA post (and we might even send you some free neighborhood “flair”). Send photos to firstname.lastname@example.org and/or tag them on social media with #BeautifyTheManor.
About the Seeds
Each bag holds enough wildflower seeds to cover about 40 square feet of space and include both sun and shade varieties that attract beneficial pollinators like bees and butterflies. The seeds come pre-mixed with sand to allow for easier distribution over a wider area as recommended by the seed company. Our hope is that you will add these seeds to corners, alleys, and yards to both #BeautifyTheManor and to help create a “pollinator pathway” connecting the Horner Park wetland area to the LaPointe Park native garden and the new pollinator areas along the river path north of us.
SEED PLANTING INSTRUCTIONS: It’s easy for us to say that growing wildflowers is easy; but, actually, it is quite easy (no need for an experienced green thumb). Just do the following:
- Find a good site (this is a sun and shade mix—think minimum 4 hours of sun per day).
- Remove undesirable plant growth and loosen dirt.
- Scatter seeds and press them into the soil. Your seeds are mixed with sand to help you spread them evenly, and should cover about 40 square feet.
- If birds dining on seeds is a problem, consider a light coating of hay for a barrier.
- Moisten / water soil regularly until 4–6 inches tall.
- Enjoy flowers & feel great about helping to build the pollinator pathway and #BeautifyTheManor!
WHERE TO PLANT: We are especially encouraging neighbors to plant their seeds, and other plants, to help #BeautifyTheManor in spaces we all can access. You can choose to plant them anywhere (and share your photos with us), but ideas include:
- Manor Corners – Let’s get every street corner in the neighborhood planted and maintained. The RMIA will be looking for neighborhood volunteers and will be supporting neighborhood corner gardeners with additional starter packets and other resources.
- Manor Alleys — Alleys are one of the Manor’s most verdant and overlooked treasures and largest public greenspaces. If your stretch of alley can be brightened, consider using the wildflower seeds to enhance it. If we all improve our small stretches of alley (beyond the seeds, consider public art, planters, disguising trash cans, and simply regular clean-up), we can together create and maintain an incredible network of neighborhood paths.
- Manor Dead-Ends and other forgotten places — The river-front dead-ends (both streets and alleys) are a unique feature of the neighborhood. Think of other forgotten places where wildflowers and plants can help #BeautifyTheManor for everyone.
About the #BeautifyTheManor Initiative
Constant improvement is central to the RMIA’s mission. That’s why we’re planning new and exciting ways that we as a volunteer organization can collaborate with the City of Chicago, local groups, and our neighbors to beautify Ravenswood Manor. The wildflower giveaway is hopefully the first of many ways we can do this work as a community. To learn more about the #BeautifyTheManor Initiative keep an eye out for our Spring 2021 Newsletter, which is expected in the coming weeks and stay tuned to our website and social media. And don’t forget to follow the #BeautifyTheManor hashtag we can enjoy the many beautiful spaces we share. Together we can make the Manor—already one of Chicago’s most beautiful and verdant neighborhoods—even more unique and incredible.
Last modified: April 26, 2021