Planting family

Harry Funk/The Almanac

Taking care of a Washington Road planter box for the first time this year are Lauren Case-Siegler and her children, Audrey and Finn Siegler.

Admirers of the series of planter boxes along Washington Road in Mt. Lebanon may not realize who cares for them.

“I thought that these were paid jobs, and the people who did our snow removal also did the planting in the spring,” Amber Siegler said. “But when I found out that it was volunteer, I raised my hand really high and volunteered myself and a couple of friends.”

Amber Siegler

Amber Siegler

She joined with Bridget Mahoney and Lauren Case-Siegler May 18 as first-timers for the annual Uptown planting blitz, during which conscientious members of the community prepare the boxes for a season of blooming vegetation.

“I got involved because I’m just so invested in where I live and want to give back,” Siegler said. “I want to help other people understand that it’s the things that you don’t notice all the time that make such a difference in your life.”

The box for which the women are caring is near Washington Road’s intersection with Cedar Boulevard, where Mahoney used to live in an apartment.

“I would always look out those windows and see how beautiful everything was, and I didn’t know it was volunteers who did this,” she said. “So I just want to help out and beautify Mt. Lebanon, even though it already is, give it that little extra shine.”

The Uptown Planter Project is an initiative sponsored by Wild Rose Landscape Design, Gateway Engineers and Mt. Lebanon Partnership, a community development nonprofit corporation. Nearly two dozen groups of volunteers maintain the planter boxes.

Siegler was the motivator behind those in her group becoming a part of the project.

“She knows I love to garden, so she invited me to join in, and I absolutely would love to make Uptown beautiful,” Case-Siegler said. “I garden in my own yard a lot, and I donate my time to elderly folks who need work on their yards.”

Her efforts with Mahoney and Siegler during the planting blitz included clearing weeds out from among the returning perennials and planting a few annuals, such as lobelia, which produces purplish flowers.

“Throughout the course of the summer, it’s going to become a carpet, and it will be a lovely color that will really complement the other colors that we have,” Case-Siegler said.

Other volunteers took similar steps with their boxes, adding to the appeal of Washington Road.

“Although you might walk this road every day, if it didn’t have things like planter boxes and beautiful signage and clean sidewalks, you would notice. But when they do have it, sometimes you forget,” Siegler said. “So I think it’s really important to give back in ways that maybe not everybody notices on a day-to-day basis, but it really helps improve everyone’s quality of life.”

For more information about the Mt. Lebanon Partnership, visit mtlebopartnership.org.

Bridget Mahoney

Harry Funk/The Almanac

Bridget Mahoney works on one of the planters along Washington Road in Mt. Lebanon.

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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