The basic responsibility of adopters is to keep their bed weed free and with some color in spring, summer and fall. New beds may require an adopter to help with the installation and establishment of a bed and existing beds may need some TLC to get on the right track once again.
There is no cost to adopt a bed. The City of Columbia will pay for the sign identifying you as an adopter. Adopters are expected to provide their own water hose if water is available in their bed as well as any fertilizers or chemicals they would like. Some adopters may incur expenses if they would like to add plants beyond what the city provides. Please note that the city has a limited budget so adding new beds or upgrading existing beds is at the discretion of the City and the Office of Volunteer Services.
Time will depend on each bed, but volunteer adopters are strongly encouraged to spend time in their bed no less than twice each month, April to November, weeding and caring for their beds. Some adopters may need to visit their bed multiple times each week if they are watering annual flowers. Regular maintenance will improve the appearance of your bed and make caring for it much easier!
We ask that adopters care for only one bed and give it the care and maintenance to be successful. If an adopter is successful after one or two years and is interested in a second bed staff can certainly discuss the options.
A green thumb is helpful but not required! Resources for adopters come from many sources, including city staff and newsletters and resources from the Office of Volunteer Services. We can also match you with a Master Gardener who can share advice. We encourage all adopters to learn more about gardening and their plants along the way, too, by reading books, magazines and websites and talking with others who enjoy landscaped beds.
Each year there are some adopters who are unable to fulfill their commitments because of moving, health, or another life change. If the lack of maintenance is short-term, the Office of Volunteer Services may be able to find volunteers to weed your bed. If you anticipate a longer absence please consider giving up your bed so another volunteer can care for it. Volunteer Services keeps a list of interested volunteers who may be waiting for your bed.
Spots are located in city or state right-of-way, usually at an intersection or a street median. Spots are not located on private property. In come cases, spots may be multiple small beds if they are located close by or at the same intersection. Please confirm with our staff the size and scope of the spot you are interested in.