Village Green initiative to hold Saturday workshops

LILBURN - On Interstate 85's on-ramps, where there's no shade, plenty of exhaust fumes and lots of sun, these plants have thrived.

So local front yards shouldn't be a problem at all.

The 13 types of trees, bushes, flowers and grass that are part of the Village Green initiative are drought resistant and do well in harsh conditions.

"They're made to be ignored," Gwinnett Village Community Alliance director Sally Haggard said. "If it rains once a month, they should be fine."

The Village Green initiative kicked off Thursday, and local Home Depot stores will hold Saturday workshops for residents who want tips on how to plant the palette of greenery in their own yards, while saving water at the same time.

Shiv Aggarwal, chairman of the Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District's board of directors, planted the first display at his Global Mall on Jimmy Carter Boulevard this week.

Aggarwal said he spent $2,400 to landscape 400 square feet of the property and plans to spend a total of $10,000 to add the plants to the Global Mall. But the oak trees, holly and roses are available in any price range, he said.

Already, he said, businesses in the mall have noticed a difference. He hopes customers will, too, and will bring the idea back to their subdivisions.

Brookwood Park residents Jeff Thomas and Al Parigian said they intend to plant the trees, flowers and shrubbery in their subdivision. John McHenry, the CID's program director, said the improvements will make the whole CID a more desirable place to live and do business.

"Everybody knows a good-looking place is a place you want to be," he said.

Haggard said the Village Alliance has been charged, in part, with changing perception in the area. If the district looks nice, she said, there is less likelihood for crime and littering.

In the spring, Haggard said, she hopes to have a competition through Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful to reward the best-looking residential and business installations.

Saturday's workshops, which begin at 10 a.m., are open to the public. They will be held at Home Depot stores at 4028 Lawrenceville Highway in Lilburn, 4136 Jimmy Carter Blvd. in Norcross, 3755 Shackleford Parkway in Duluth and 5950 State Bridge Road in Duluth.