Community Garden Transition

The original Arboretum Community Garden, which has been a centerpiece of our volunteer program since it was established in 2009, has undergone many changes in the last few years.  As we reported previously, due to construction of a new cell tower, we moved the Community Farm and Garden to a new location that is larger and includes improved irrigation. Additionally, the new garden includes the “farmland”, raised vegetable beds, and a section for cut flowers. The new garden is located near the greenhouse, and apiary, and will be expanded to include a small orchard.

As the new cell tower project reached completion earlier this summer, we planted a native Florida landscape around the cell tower fence to provide a transition to the natural areas beyond the tower.   The plants featured in this planting include a large stand of Sea Grape (Coccoloba uvifera), Firebush (Hamelia patens), Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria), and Simpsons Stopper (Myrcianthes fragrans). These plants not only visually tie the project to the natural lands, but they also create a striking aesthetic appeal, promote habitat for native pollinators and birds, and provide an opportunity for the Arboretum to educate visitors on the value of native plantings.

To support the Arboretum’s visions for fundraising and community connections the original Community Garden space will be transitioned into a new nursery operation.  Our student co-coordinators began preparing the new site earlier this summer by removing all remaining produce and tilling and solarizing the soil to prepare it for the new nursery layout.  We are excited about developing the nursery because it will allow us to grow larger plants, experiment with other growing methods on a larger scale, and produce a greater variety of plants for our wildly popular plant sales.  Our Greenhouse and Nursery Co-coordinators will lead that effort.  At the Arboretum we are always looking for ways to grow more, provide leadership opportunities for our students and fund-raise for our program. The new nursery hits all three of those marks!

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