iReporter
 
Liz Berry – Guest Contributor
Jun 5 @ 4:17 pm
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If the the group of people in the photo below have their way, Garland could soon earn the title of "Garden City."

Representatives from Dallas County Master Gardeners, Garland ISD, Loving Garland Green, Garland Park Board, Texas AgriLife, Native Prairie Restoration, Neighborhood Vitality, Garland Environmental Waste Services, Keep Garland Beautiful, GISD Garden to Cafeteria Program (Student Nutrition Services).

 

Meeting of the Garden Minds

We all came together this morning, at the District 1 Road and Bridge Building (714 Rowlett Rd, Garland 75043) thanks to the vision of Linsey Gilbert, school nurse at Parkcrest Elementary School here in Garland. 

Last fall, Jane Stroud, President of Loving Garland Green, and I met with Linsey over lunch at Main Street Café to listen to her vision of creating a school garden for the Parkcrest students. Linsey is a lovely, very quiet, soft-spoken woman.  At the time I would not have given a plug nickel for success of such a project.

Since Jane and I were already committed to other projects, I suggested Linsey contact a few of my friends—Reba Collins of Keep Garland Beautiful who has installed numerous beautiful pollinator gardens in Garland and also David Parrish and Nancy Tunell.  David, retired from the EPA, is a member of our park board and he also works closely with our local Boy Scouts. Nancy is our official Community Garden coordinator here in Garland from the Neighborhood Vitality Department.

My time freed up in the spring and I was able to help with some of the physical work on the Parkcrest Elementary School Garden. We had an entire day devoted to working with the students, teachers and parents to install the garden, which is laid out in four parts; a pollinator garden (with installation led by Reba); a vegetable garden (with installation led by Nancy Tunell and I); a native Blackland Prairie Area (led by David Parrish); and a compost area (led by John Pierce)

People from other schools began to contact Linsey asking for advice.  It was from these requests that Linsey reached out to all the folks you see in the photo.  We have now come together to build something for our community that is greater than any one of us alone could do—school gardens for all the schools in GISD.  Once again, people have proved to be among our greatest assets.

School gardens mean so much to our children.  Among other things, they can be a place to heal.  For example, Linsey told the story of a student who had some very heavy sad issues to deal with.  After listening to him, Linsey suggested they go walk in the school garden.  During the walk they noticed a Texas Rock Rose shrub that appeared to have been uprooted from another’s vigorous hoeing.  The student was concerned about the plant so Linsey suggested he put it back more firmly in the ground.  The boy returned to the plant daily to care for it.  Over time, his other issues are not so bad any more.  It’s amazing but true that sometimes taking care of any living thing, even a plant, can heal us and provide the hope we need to continue.

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Jeff Raska, urban horticulturist, talking to us in the garden.

GARLAND HAS A FABULOUS URBAN AGRICULTURAL CENTER THAT FEW KNOW ABOUT

We met today at the Road and Bridge Office: 715 Rowlett Rd, Garland, Texas 75043

Thanks in large part to the leadership of Jeff Raska, our Dallas County Urban Horticulturist, and the Dallas County Master Gardeners, we have a great Texas AgriLife demonstration garden that includes a vegetable garden, an orchard with 30 trees and a vineyard.

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PEOPLE TO CONTACT FOR MORE INFORMATION

For more information on Garland’s own Urban Agricultural Center: contact Jeff Raska at jwraska@ag.tamu.edu 

For more information on the Garden to Cafeteria programs, Contact Holly Frias at hbfrias@garlandisd.net

For more information on how you can become part of this great vision to bring school gardens to GISD students, please contact Linsey Gilbert, school nurse at Parkcrest Elementary LRGilbert@garlandisd.net

For more information on how you can start a neighborhood community garden, contact Nancy Tunell at ntunell@garlandtx.gov

 

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FOR GARDENING PRACTICE, YOU ARE INVITED TO THE GARLAND COMMUNITY GARDEN located at West Brand and Naaman School Rd – 9 pm Saturday, June 8th.  We are having a much-needed workday and could use some assistance.