Community garden celebrates first year

One year almost to the day after local gardeners celebrated the April 2016 grand opening of the Riverside Avondale Community Garden, they were busy working to open it for the Riverside Avondale Preservation Home Tour – and to celebrate the garden’s first anniversary.

The chores on April 15 were many and varied, including building and installing a community garden bulletin board (check); building a trash can enclosure out of cypress; replanting the free herb garden (check); planting a butterfly garden (check); installing pavers; edging along the exterior of the garden enclosure; raking mulch and replacing weed barrier (check); finishing the ADA raised bed and the compost bins.

Jerry Chandler helps himself to free lemon balm from the herb garden at the Riverside Avondale Community Garden.

Jerry Chandler helps himself to free lemon balm from the herb garden at the Riverside Avondale Community Garden.

Two weeks later, on the evening before the Home Tour, April 28, gardeners gathered to share bounty, using herbs and vegetables in finger-food snacks. Sausages were grilled with onions and peppers from the garden, and tea was made with mint, from the free herb garden sponsored by the Shoppes of Avondale Merchants Association.

Charlie and Jeanne Ward, of Avondale, have a garden plot again this year, raising four types of tomatoes, four types of peppers, squash, cucumbers and herbs, although Jeanne is quick to point out that her husband is the gardener in the family.

The Wards are Park Street next-door neighbors to Susan Fraser, who oversaw the construction of the 34-plot garden, and was spied hanging balloons and crepe paper ribbons for the party. “She never stops moving,” laughed Jeanne Ward.

Late last fall, Fraser, along with Tracy Miller, Susan Tandingan, and Tom Lecato, planted a small rose garden at the northwest corner of the enclosure to commemorate the original park, the former Willowbranch Rose Garden Park, located on Park Street between Azalea Terrace and Mallory Street.

The garden isn’t limited to Riverside or Avondale residents. Kirk Wedekind, of Ortega, has a plot again this year, where he is growing sweet onions, collard greens and two types of lettuce. His niece, Mary Bullock Wedekind, and nephews Bo and Tucker were at the garden party, too.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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