About the Garland Community Garden Today
We’ve come a long way in less than three years. Since the installation of our first bed down at the garden on April 14, 2014, the garden is now growing over 1,000 plants each year and many of these plants are perennials that will return year after year. Some of these plants include 25 blackberry bushes; three pear trees, two peach trees; one apricot tree, one pomegranate tree; a two-year old grape vine with four strong plants; and one jujube tree; three lavender bushes; three Mexican Tarragon plants; three huge beds of mint; four large bushes of lemon grass. In addition to these edibles, we also have many clumps of native grasses throughout the garden and a large pollinator garden filled with native perennials such as lantana, Turk’s cap, native milkweed, many varieties of Salvia and more.
The Garland Community Garden, an organic garden, is a living example illustrating many of the various urban gardening formats and methods available to an urban resident: square foot gardening; lasagna beds; container gardens; spiral herb garden; several hugelkulturs; and keyhole garden.
Features in the Garden
Features in the garden include a Medicine Wheel which is a small version of the ones built by Native Americans that dotted the landscapes of North America for hundreds of years before the Europeans arrived; a loofah tunnel built by one of our founding members, Charles Bevilacqua; our spiral herb garden built by Margie Rodgers and Marie Mathis (the spiral garden is an ancient permaculture structure that was introduced to the world by monks during the Middle Ages); a children’s garden with a puddling pool built by member Cheryl Andres; a Blackland Prairie plot featuring native grasses; and of course our pollinator garden.
Loving Garland Green’s Interactions with the Community
At the garden we feature native plants and edibles that will grow well and easily in Garland. Our mission is to increase the number of Garland residents who grow some of the food they eat as it is a proven fact these activities will grow the local economy and will also increase food security in our community. We also like to demonstrate the potential of commercial value to be derived from the sale of organically grown urban produce. Last year, for example, we earned $24 dollars selling loofah sponges at our local farmers’ market. We’ve also experimented with various crops such as hops to see if they can be grown in our urban environment. [Yes, hops grow well in Garland.]
Over the past two and a half years we have done a lot of work with the students in the Garland ISD: We’ve taught a six weeks botany election for students at Beaver Tech; we donated and helped to install a pollinator garden at North Garland High School; we hosted 100 Watson Tech students on a two hour tour of the Garland Community Garden; we assisted the students at Watson in building a hugelkultur (a type of garden bed that is great for areas such as ours that are prone to drought); we’ve donated two olive trees, one orange tree and one lemon tree to the Watson greenhouse (both citrus trees had fruit on them); and we’ve held classes down at the garden for home scholars on topics such as the importance of our native bees. In addition to these activities, we have participated in many community educational events such as health fairs—and we’ve supported other nonprofit organizations as well such as The Good Samaritans and Keep Garland Beautiful.