The new season begins Saturday April 7th!

At the historical downtown Garland Square.


Hard to believe that time has passed so quickly, but it’s true.  This is the start of the fifth year and our fifth spring down at the Garland community Garden.  Our featured bed this spring is EAST MEETS WEST.  This bed is stewarded by Loving Garland Green President, Jane Stroud. 

The bed is divided lengthwise into two sections.  The east side of the bed features plants the European explorers and pioneers brought with them from the “old world.”  The west side of the bed features plants from the Americas (the new world) that these travelers took back to the old world.  A few examples of new world crops included maize (corn), white potatoes, sweet potatoes, peanuts, tomatoes, squash, pineapples, papaya and avocados. Among the old world crops we have rice, wheat, barley, oats, rye, turnips, onions, cabbage, lettuce, peaches, pears and sugar.

Spring is a great time in the garden—a time of hope and discovery.  It’s always interesting to see what has survived the winter and because our garden has so many different gardeners, there are always surprises here and there in the beds.  For example in our Okra/herb plot, one lonely iris has sprung up.  Someone must have planted it there last year, as I don’t ever recall having seen it before.

I was especially pleased to see that our wild Senna that we planted in one of the pollinator beds survived the winter.    [Fact sheet on Senna: ]. This is an herbaceous perennial with lovely yellow blossoms that pollinators love.


New Vegetables in the Garden

We also have a growing list of new vegetables and growing methods that we are demonstrating down at the garden.  Raj, one of our neighbors, recently returned from India and brought several types of interesting seed with him that we will be trying out.  One of them, a long smooth pod okra—I’ve already planted in the okra patch.  Another called “drinking gourd, I’ve also planted among our Luffa seed at the Luffa tunnel.  A few days ago I also planted some dark green bean seeds in the Tee Pee Tower.  These are also seeds that Raj brought back from India.  The pods are supposed to grow to a foot long or more.  We also have Kombocha squash growing in  several plot in the garden for the first time this year.

As for demonstrations of new growing methods at the garden, one of our new members, Diane Jenkins, has started a straw bale plot.  Although this method is not new to our members (as several of our members use this gardening method in their home gardens) it is the first time we’ve featured the straw bale method at the garden. 



Plants that I'm bringing to the sale: Russian Tarragon, Oregano, Mint, Zinnia, Bee Balm

Loving Garland Green Plant Sale Saturday APRIL 7

10 AM TO 3PM  - Garland Community Garden

 This will be our second year to host this event on the same day as the famous annual Naaman Forest High School Plant sale.  We’ve found that folks will stop by our sale after they’ve been to the Naaman Forest sale as we are just down the road from them on Naaman School Road at the junction of Brand and Naaman School Road—Garland 75040.

Although our selection is not as huge as some, we will have at least 300 plants of all varieties from blackberry plants to zinnias; from tomatoes to Kombocha squash; from oregano to mint to name a few.

HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!  And when you stop, tour the garden.  Loving Garland Green members will be there to show you around.


I imagine there's a whole lot of lottery jackpot dreaming going on this morning.  I saw that one of the jackpots has a cash value of  over a quarter of a billion dollars ($269 million) so I decided to dream a little.

Imagine not one but two rooftop gardens like this in downtown Garland:  One on top of our old hardware store and one on top of our new Makerspace building.


$40- $50 million dollars is donated for this project

1.  Makerspace is built on grass plot on square. (It will be a pretty building designed by Garland architects blending the styles of our new city hall with the styles of the older building around our square--two stories and there will be plenty of space left for parking and a picnic area with picnic benches and trees

[I know some people might not agree with me in regard to putting it on the grassy area on the east side of our square.  However I think it belongs there for many reasons.  First of all it anchors the east side of the square with a building.  Right now that space looks like what it is:  a place where a building was demolished--a vacant lot. The only thing it lacks is weeds.   Second of all a makerspace can be a hub for our community.  It belongs downtown and in a prominent space--not stuck off in some industrial park somewhere.]

  • Has gutters and a rain catchment system
  • Has a garden roof
  • Has a permeable parking lot with pots of edibles and flowers
  • Has an special area for Kid makers
  • Has a commercial kitchen
  • Has plenty of classroom and collaboration space

 [Note:  the Car bays; woodworking shop and welding area will be built on a side street off the square OR we might add a basement for these makers]

2.  The long-empty Hardware Store on Square is purchased and is turned into a MAKER supply store

All the profits from the sale of goods from this store will go to support the membership dues-free Garland Area Makerspace

  • During the time the makerspace is being built we might use half of this building for our maker headquarters perhaps.
  • The Maker Supply store will also have an urban garden roof

3. Another building on the square will also be purchased and will be used as a MAKER STORE.  This is a store reserved for selling only items made by Garland Makers.



Kindness "ROCKS"

6:30 PM tonight

North Garland Branch Library

3845 North Garland Avenue (in a strip mall)

Bring your favorite kid(s) to the library tonight for a special maker event hosted by our local librarians!  The children will be painting kindness messages on rocks.  They can take the rocks home with them and then place them somewhere in Garland.   



A rock I painted last spring – 2017 – E Berry

Most projects never seem to mature as fast as I think they should and such is the case with establishing our Garland Area Makerspace. Even though we have been approved and received our Certificate of Formation to do business as a nonprofit in the state of Texas; even though we have received a sizable donation of the latest in wood-working equipment; even though plans are in the works for a maker store on our square; even though we will be touring some possible locations for our makerspace next month—the truth is:  I want to have a makerspace this minute—wah!  Some folks are born with the patience of Job and then there are hurry-up people like me.  In the end, I suppose we all balance each other out and there is a place for each of us in this world.

One thing about makers and makerspaces in Garland:  Our Garland Area Makerspace is not and will never be the only makerspace in Garland.  We already have makerspaces all over our city—in people’s kitchens, garages, yards, in our schools and especially in our libraries.  In fact, libraries all over the USA are fast becoming hotspots and centers for makerspaces—especially for children, but for adults as well.  Our great Garland library system is making sure that we encourage the maker spirit in our community.

Malia Moore- Librarian at the North Garland Branch Library

Malia and her staff at the North Garland Branch Library have planned a great event for adults, their children and grandchildren this Thursday.  From 6:30 to 8:00 PM one of the larger rooms in the library will be set up for rock painting.  It’s all free—from the materials (rocks and paint) to the instructions.

These rocks will be painted with messages and words of kindness.  The maker children are encouraged to take them home and then find a special location somewhere in Garland to place their kindness rock.

It’s a great idea!  I plan to be there and I hope you will too.  Bring a kid—yours, your grandchild, or perhaps a neighbor or friend’s child.  Let’s teach our children—not only the fun of making, but also the importance of kindness.  

Let's support maker activities in our schools and libraries.

Event:  Kindness Rocks

Place:  North Garland Branch Library 3845 Garland Avenue (in a strip mall)

Date: Thursday March 15, 2018

Time:  6:30 to 8:00 PM (come and go)


Margaret Knight (1838 to 1914) – American inventor with 87 patents to her credit.  I wonder how many male fishermen realize they have a woman to thank for the reels on their fishing rods?


March is National Women Inventors’ month.  Students rarely hear about great women inventers in school but there were quite a few of them.  In celebration of the recent award of a Certificate of Filing to the Garland Area Makerspace from the State of Texas as a an official nonprofit, licensed to do business in the state of Texas, it’s more than appropriate to pay homage to women and children makers and inventors.

We already know about people like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Eli Whitney and other male inventors, but few have ever heard of women such as Margaret Knight.  Yet, she was probably the most famous 19th Century woman inventor.  Margaret was born in 1838 in Framingham Massachusetts.  By the time she died in 1914, she held no less than 87 U.S. patents.

Among her many designs and inventions is the flat-bottom paper bag that we take for granted today. In 1868 Knight invented a machine that folded and glued paper to form the flat-bottomed brown paper bags familiar to us today.

Margaret’s most remarkable invention to me was one that she made when she was only 12 years old.  Her father died when Margaret was young and the family moved to Manchester, New Hampshire.  She left school and went to work with her siblings in a cotton mill.  When she was 12, Margaret witnessed an accident where a worker was stabbed by a steel-tipped shuttle that shot out of a mechanical loo.  Within weeks she invented a safety device for the loom that was later used by other cotton mills.

Health problems prevented Knight from continuing to work at the cotton mill but she went on to hold many other jobs including home repair, photography and engraving.  In 1867 she moved to Springfield, Massachusetts and was hired by the Columbia Paper Bag Company.  Some of her other many inventions included lid removing pliers; a numbering machine, a window frame and sash and several patents related to the rotary engine.


Do you know who was responsible for the electric refrigerator?


Florence Parpart with her invention of our modern day refrigerator.   She filed the patent in 1914.  She not only invented the refrigerator and put the old-fashioned ice boxes out of business, she also marketed them at trade shows.


Never discount the vast potential for creating useful inventions offered by young minds.


Rachel Zimmerman 12 year old inventor with her Blissymbol Printer (1984) – Courtesy Space University

Margaret Knight doesn’t have the corner on 12-year old female inventors.  In 1984, Canadian Rachel Zimmerman, at the ripe old age of 12 invented an apparatus to assist people who have difficulty communicating.  Her software program enables nonspeaking people to communicate through the use of symbols. Her invention, the Blissymbol Printer transcribes the symbols into written language.  Today, after completing degrees in physics and space studies, she works for NASA.


Here in the DFW area, we have our own special female inventor heroine.


Bette Nesmith Graham—--born March 23, 1924 Dallas – Died May 12, 1980 Richardson-- single mother, secretary at Texas Bank and Trust invented “Liquid Paper” (First named “Mistake Out”).  She sold her first batch in 1956.  Nine years later she had a new corporate headquarters with annual sales of more than a million units.  She maintained the company until 1979 when she sold it to Gillette Corporation for $47.5 million.   (Just in time for Bette as personal computers were introduced about five years later.  There is a lot to be said for knowing when it is time to leave the party.)


Who do you think invented the windshield wipers?

Mary Anderson and a copy from her patent for windshield wipers filed in 1903

It’s difficult to imagine a world with moving vehicles that don’t have windshield wipers, but such was the world for Mary Anderson.  She visited New York City in 1902 and noted the frequent delays when the streetcar driver had to stop and wipe off the windshield.  She returned home to Alabama and invented the windshield wiper.  Her invention was manual with a handle inside for the driver to move when needed.

Anderson got many letters of rejection for her invention—most of which said that the patent was not of such commercial value as to warrant their consideration.  Although she never earned any money for her window cleaning device, She finally got posthumous credit in 2011 when she was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame.


Come celebrate makers with us and meet the Women and Men who are building the Garland Area Makerspace.  We would love for you to join and work with us to create an inventor incubator for our community.

We are creating a makerspace for our community that will become a warm, diverse and productive incubator for innovators and inventors of all ages and genders.  We invite you to bring your ideas and assets to our next meeting.

We are open to the public

We meet at 7PM on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month at the North Branch of the Garland Library (located in a strip mall).  3845 North Garland Avenue – Garland Texas 75040


Laura Castillo and Rosie Perez from the City of Garland Neighborhood Vitality along with the Garland Kiwanis helped to make the recent “Try Something New” Volunteer Fair a huge success.

Volunteerism is an ancient concept.  Aristotle said it well over 2,000 years ago:  “ What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good.”

Lao Tzo, another ancient wise man, had this to say about giving to others: "The wise man does not lay up his own treasures. The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own."  


The “Try Something New” Garland Volunteer Fair hosted by the City of Garland and our local Kiwanis was a huge success.  I don’t have an official headcount but from 6 to 8 PM the large area of the Atrium was crowded with Garland residents seeking information regarding all the volunteer opportunities in our community—and there are many:  from serving on one of our City Boards and Commission to working with members to help establish one of newest nonprofits in our community, our Garland Area MakerSpace.


Debut for the Garland Area MakerSpace - Next Meeting Tuesday March 13 7PM

We made our public debut as an official organization at this event and I’m happy to report that we had sixteen people sign up to join us in our efforts to bring a makerspace to our community.  If you missed this great event, you can still join us.  Find out all about makerspaces by stopping in at our next meeting at the North Garland Branch Library—Tuesday, March 13th at 7PM- 3845 North Garland

Many folks including two of our City Council members stopped at our table:  Councilman BJ Williams stopped by and signed our sheet to receive more information and Councilman Robert Smith also stopped by to let us know that he also supports our efforts to bring a makerspace to our community.


Mark Bushnell, Garland Area Makerspace board member, chats with Robert Smith and Deborah Morris about makerspaces.

Robert Smith, Garland City Council Representative for 8th District stops by the Garland Area Makerspace table.  Shown with him is Deborah Morris, another Garland resident who is interested in the potential that makerspaces offer our community.



Loving Garland Green President, Jane Stroud, shared her joys of our beautiful community garden with visitors.

Jane Stroud, President Loving Garland Green (official stewards of the Garland Community Garden) talks with interested visitors.  As one of the founding members of Loving Garland Green, this group is near and dear to my heart.  If you are interested, you are invited to attend our next meeting, Monday March 5 at 6:30 at 216 East Kingsbridge 75040 (between Crestone and Naaman School Road).


Mary Ann Zyla and Rose Taylor at the Achievement Center of Texas table.

The Texas Achievement Center is located at 2950 North Shiloh Road in Garland, Texas. This organization is a licensed non-profit day care and day habilitation center for children and adults with special needs. They make every effort to offer families services that support those children wherever possible. In providing a wide range of services in the least restrictive environment, students at the Achievement Center can grow and develop physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially. At the center, they work toward greater independence and a more satisfying way of life.  If you want to make a difference in someone’s life, you might want to stop by the Texas Achievement Center.  Although our Garland Area MakerSpace is nearly new, I talked with Rose and Mary Ann about the possibilities of connecting with them and their clients in the future.


So many of my friends from other great Garland volunteer organizations were there as well:  Pam Swendig from the Good Samaritans; Ana Maria DeYoung from GAFFA; the folks from Earth X; Preservation Garland; the GISD Family and Community Engagement and many more.  I even saw two political hopefuls there:  Deborah Morris City Council candidate for Garland’s 2nd District and Mr. Louis Moore, candidate for Mayor.  Chalk one up for them.  It’s good to see they support volunteerism.