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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

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MCLB Naval Dental Clinic spruces up image

By Cpl. Michael Kjaer | | May 25, 2000

The Naval Dental Clinic here has never really been considered a nice place to visit, but all that may change soon thanks to two clinic employees.
Lynn McDonald, a registered dental hygienist, and Jennie Dalton, the dental receptionist, have changed the grounds outside the clinic from the grass normally found around all the buildings on the base, to a garden with a variety of plants and flowers.
According to McDonald, the grounds were heavily weeded and she and Dalton took it upon themselves to improve it.
There were a lot of weeds in the grass, said McDonald. After the installation of the fiber optic cables, they [the fiber optic contractors] went over the grass with a steam roller.  That helped [us decide to change the garden] a lot too. Rather than requesting improvements from Maintenance (the MCLB Albany Grounds Maintenance Division), we did it ourselves.
It was something both women enjoyed doing, according to Dalton. All the plants and flowers were provided by her and McDonald, who has her own greenhouse.
We both have green thumbs, said Dalton. It took us about six weeks working on it on Friday afternoons after work and then some time on Saturdays and Sundays, but it was very worth it.
It didnt cost very much since a lot of the plants came from my greenhouse, and we get so many compliments on it now.
McDonald estimated the improvements took a total of approximately four solid days of working on the part of both women.
However, now that the work is done, little upkeep is required.
According to McDonald, the women chose low maintenance plants and flowers on purpose. All the garden requires now is watering in the morning or after the work day and some light weeding to keep unwelcome plants out of the garden.
The improvements on the grounds have done more than just make the grounds look nicer, according to McDonald. It has also become a topic of conversation among people who come to the dental clinic and the Naval Branch Medical Clinic, located next door.
We have people who are visiting the medical clinic coming in all the time and telling us how much they like it and how nice it looks, said McDonald. It also helps to give our patients something else to think about when theyre waiting for their appointment. Theyll ask us about the garden, and when we start talking about it you can see theyre not thinking about sitting in the dental chair so much anymore.
The dental clinic may never become a place people visit more often than necessary, but it may not be quite so dreaded by people with green thumbs. Everyone can appreciate a nice garden, and the work it requires to create it and to keep it that way.
Tricks of the trade are always appreciated. According to Dalton, people are now coming into the dental clinic to ask advice about their gardens in addition to receiving dental care.