LELO, WAWC to Begin 1st Phase of Shannon Collins Garden

Ariana Rodriguez

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — LELO has announced that beginning on Oct. 5, the first phase of creating the Shannon Collins Memorial Garden will commence.

“Each first Saturday will include a substantial project for us to complete, we have designed Shannon's Garden to be done in sections/phases creating sweet little vignettes over time,” said Patty Callahan, LELO communications and marketing manager. “For example on Saturday, Oct. 5 we will be clearing and cleaning up the front entry area of the Walnut Avenue Women's Center and planting flowers in wine barrels all down the Walnut street side of the Center.”

Collins, co-owner of adult boutique Camouflage in Santa Cruz, was stabbed to death in broad daylight on May 7, 2012 by Charles Edwards III, a transient. Collins was an avid supporter of the Walnut Avenue Women's Center (WAWC).

“Shannon Collins believed strongly in the healing power of gardening, and the work that the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center does for the community,” said Elizabeth Sedic, vice president of LELO USA. “LELO felt it was perfect to combine the two by growing something beautiful. In honor of her life, we are creating The Shannon Collins Memorial Garden. LELO will be designing, installing, and maintaining a garden in her memory on the grounds of the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center in Santa Cruz.”

LELO says that initial plans for the garden began on Aug. 20 when representatives from LELO and Walnut Avenue Women’s Center met at the site of the future Shannon Collins Memorial Garden. Together they learned about the plants that are native to the Santa Cruz community, the space available for the garden, and the needs of the women and children served by the WAWC.

The partnership was publicized at the LELO 10th Anniversary Summit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium during a gala with more than 100 attendees, which was held Sept. 11. LELO presented Jennifer Rose and Jennifer O’Brian-Rojo, from WAWC, and Ken Vinson, Shannon Collins’ husband, with the tools to begin planting the Shannon Collins Memorial Garden.

Volunteers are welcome and can meet on the first Saturday of every month between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., at the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center, located at 303 Walnut Ave. in Santa Cruz, Calif. Gift card donations for Home Depot or Orchard Supply Hardware, as well as charitable cash or check donations are also being accepted. To make a donation, visit WAWC.org.

According to Callahan, Nov. 2 will be Succulent Saturday.

“We ask that everyone bring a succulent to be planted to create a beautiful, self sustaining, meandering walkway,” Callahan said. “They may be a potted succulent of even a cutting from their own gardens. All succulents are welcome on Succulent Saturday.”

A Facebook page for the event can be found here.