Category: Community Garden
1. Burkleigh Square Community Garden | Community Garden WINNER!
This community garden has been in existence for 79 years and there are more than 20 mature native trees on the property, as well as a hardscape walking path, a children’s play area, a community vegetable garden, and an area for barbecues and picnics. Last year, a community grant allowed the community association to add a new pollinator garden bed, create a rain garden, and remove invasive burning bush plants and replace them with native blueberries, a host plant for hairstreak butterflies. One area of this park has always had problems with flooding during heavy rains, so putting in a rain garden was a priority. The heavy rains we’ve had this spring and summer were absorbed by this new rain garden within four hours, preventing runoff and erosion. These improvements were organized by Melanie Hotham and Tracey Marcantoni, with help from many community members.
"We strive to make our park a place for all ages to enjoy, from birth through 100 years old. It's been lived in and loved by so many people. There are trees planted in honor of neighbors who have since passed on. Walking through this garden, I feel a connection with those neighbors, whose memories add so much to the joy and pleasure this community garden gives to all of us." —Tracey Marcantoni
2. Roger's Forge Tot Lot Garden | Finalist
“The tot lot garden community space had originally been a neighborhood garden in the past, but had been neglected for quite awhile. My wife Kara and I wound up adopting it at the height of our COVID-imposed isolation—as an excuse to get out of our own yard and interact with neighbors and families visiting the Rodgers Forge tot lot. We’d learned so much after transitioning our own garden to native plants, and have been constantly thrilled with the diversity of insects, birds and animals the new garden now attracts. Transplanting those plants to the community garden space allowed us to share that same experience with a neighborhood we really love.
"Neighbors have started to contribute their own plants, kick in with watering (the biggest challenge of all in this space), and have started to help with the mowing and keeping the garden tidy. Food trucks use this space monthly, and families eat their meals cross-legged on the grass, sitting among an array of native plants, busy mason bees, jewel-green long-legged flies, monarch caterpillars, orange and black assassin bugs and many more. We hope that the space brings enjoyment to all!” —Craig Lammes and Kara Silber Lammes
3. Springdale Community Garden Medians | Finalist
Mary Dean had replaced the plants in front of her Springdale home with natives three years ago, so when she learned her community was planning to replant the median strips in two entranceways to her community, she volunteered to organize the overhaul of these gardens. Victor Bennett, owner/founder of Edible Earth Design, helped her to choose plants, and neighbors and neighborhood children worked to remove the existing landscaping and put in plugs of native plants, including milkweed, purple love grass, culvers root, river oat, lyre leaf sage, golden groundsel, hoary mountain mint, blue lobelia, eastern redbud, inkberry, white turtle head (for the Baltimore Butterfly!), and red chokeberry. Dean says that later this summer, they will also plant native gardens at the brick entranceways nearby and will also be holding a children’s workshop on Monarch butterflies that showcases the Common Milkweed plants that are growing on one of the median gardens.
"We live close to the Loch Raven Reservoir, so it’s really important to grow the native plants that provide food and shelter to the butterflies, insects, birds and wildlife that are experiencing habitat destruction and the accompanying damage to their food web. We have a lot of young children in our community and not only do these species need our support, but they provide such an educational lesson in the importance of native plants and metamorphosis." —Mary Dean