Who: Dan Urkevich
Where: Garden Beds at Saratoga Spa State Park
Q: How many years have you been gardening here?
A: I started gardening in the park after I left the golf course, when the golf course privatized, in 2000 this bed was started…this is the 19th year. Both sides. It’s expanded quite a bit—that and some other beds in the park…every year I try to make it a little better.
Q: How is your commute from Mechanicville each morning?
A: Easy. Not bad at all. It’s not like having to drive to Albany.
Q: Where do you get the plants and flowers?
A: I buy all my plants at Sunnyside nursery. I’ve always gotten them there. I give him a list of plants I need, he grows them special for me. Ned Chapman. He’s willing to grow for me, so I can do some unusual things here with plants. He’s very generous to the park, always has been.
Q: What are your favorites?
A: I like the zinnias, the tall zinnias. The ‘state fair’ is the variety. And I also like the sunflowers, I’ve used a lot of sunflowers here… you get a nice height and they’re visible from the road…so you can see a splash of color.
Q: How much annual planting is required?
A: It’s probably like 65 percent perennial to 30 annual...they’ll be coming as soon as we get some warmer weather.
Q: How has the state park changed through the years?
A: My first year was ’78. I’ve seen a lot of things here. It’s really improved a lot, all the areas here…I also do the Victoria pool, I do the flowers and landscaping in there and that’s beautiful; try to keep it nice.
Q: Do you have many interactions with passersby?
A: Everybody. A lot of people stop here, you know, questions about the flowers. The walking path was put in the same time all this was done, so this has been a great thing for the patrons. All of that was started, I think, in ’99. It’s much more popular, the whole park…I’ve seen a big increase in the attendance…and with the pumpkins and mums in the fall, it’s just really popular for family pictures.
Q: What do you like to do for fun?
A: I do a lot of fishing, kayak fishing. I also bike. [Laughs.] I also do a lot of this for my family and friends, a lot of gardening.