Rocky Penn (center) at the East Dallas Community Garden along with two other members of their East Dallas Community Garden and Marketplace located at 1416 Fitzhugh, Dallas, Texas.

The Common Language in Our Community is "Garden"

Nancy Seaberg, the Loving Garland Green Chair for an upcoming multicultural event at the Garland Community Garden tomorrow, called me this morning and mentioned that perhaps early on Saturday morning we could visit the East Dallas Community and Market Garden at 1416 Fitzhugh.  This is one of the few community gardens in the area that I haven't visited. Charlie and I had planned to stop by there last fall on our way back from the garden at Paul Quinn College, but time got away from us.

After talking with Nancy, I realized that I would not be able to visit the garden on Saturday due to a prior commitment to attend the Trash and Bash event sponsored by Keep Garland Beautiful. Impulsively I decided I had just enough time to cram in a visit this morning if I hurried. Am I glad I did!  Not only was I able to see the beautiful and productive East Dallas Community and Market Garden, I got to meet Rocky Penn who gave me a bitter melon and some hot Cambodian peppers.

Turns out that Rocky lives in Garland near Jupiter and Walnut. Of course he has his own garden there too which I plan to visit sometime this month. Lilly Bui, one of our Loving Garland Green members, has mentioned that her mother grows a plant called "bitter melon" and I've been curious about it for some time. The fruit of this plant, as its name implies, is bitter--a taste that we don't often experience in our American diets.  I asked Rocky about bitter melon this morning and he took me right over to a huge vine where I was able to see these plants growing.  They are similar to squash.  This vine and all the vines I saw were growing on a trellis--some were horizontal flat rooftops of vines looking somewhat like small carports with a vine roof.  Also there were vertical trellis.  However I did not see any of their vine crops growing directly on the ground as we tend to grow many of our vegetable vine crops such as pumpkin and squash.


Example of one of the horizontal trellis at the East Dallas Community Garden and Market is shown in the photo above.  This one holds some Asian melons.

Above is a bitter melon that Rocky gave as as gift to Loving Garland Green along with a sample of some very hot Cambodian peppers.  The bitter melon is not for eating at this stage as shown in the photo.  It is for seeds next year.  Yes, we will have a bitter melon vine in 2015 in our multicultural plot at the Garland Community Garden.


Asian pumpkin from the East Dallas Community Garden.  Now this would make for a real scary jack-o-lantern.  I wonder what they taste like?  I'll try to purchase one in the coming month and see.


Yes, I have Rocky's contact information.  Yes, I'll be contacting him to visit his garden here in Garland and yes I'll be hounding him to help us get some of these Cambodian varieties begun in the Multicultural plot at the Garland Community Garden.

Speaking of which--


Ground Breaking Installation of the Garland Multicultural Section

4022 Naaman School Road - Garland, Texas 75040
(At Brand and Naaman School Road)

Wednesday October 8 at 6PM


 The Garland Community Garden is a little different from many community gardens.  It is stewarded by Loving Garland Green, a local nonprofit organization whose members (ordinary citizens) are dedicated to encouraging Garland residents to grow at least some of their food at their homes.  The first garden bed was installed at the Garland Community Garden on April 12, 2014. It is our intention to show, by example, the variety of edibles and bee-encouraging flowers that can be successfully grown in the Garland area.  To further encourage and educate, this garden has signs throughout telling visitors about the various plants and gardening formats.

The multicultural garden plot represents an extension of the learning format for our garden.  Some of the most beautiful and productive gardens in our city are those grown by residents who are not native to Texas.  Many of the plants in their gardens, such as the bitter melon mentioned above, native Texans have never heard of.  We hope that through the installation and participation of members of our immigrant community to further expand the plant diversity and thus the food security of our community.

Loving Garland Green is working alongside the Garland Community Multicultural Commission to make this event a success. [The Garland Community Multicultural Commission is also hosting the annual Mosaic Festival here in Garland on November 1 on the downtown Garland Square.]

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