06/04/06 — Volunteers creating 'garden of diversity' on library grounds

View Archive

Volunteers creating 'garden of diversity' on library grounds

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on June 4, 2006 2:03 AM

Crystal Ochoa of Dudley likes watching plants grow, and she's learned in school that bees are good for a garden.

"They fly to the plants and pollinate them," the 10-year-old said.

Crystal and her mother, Elizabeth, will be among a group of people, young, old, from a variety of cultures, who will help grow a garden beside the Wayne County Library's main branch this summer.

Crystal says she will like working on flowers the best.

"My favorite is Babies' Breath," she said.

Work began Saturday on the 50-foot by 50-foot patch of ground on the Jackson Street side of the library. And the gardening program will begin with seed planting June 22.

Each gardener will journal his or her experience, assistant library director Donna Phillips said. Those who want to can share their journals with the group.

"When we designed the garden, we made sure it was handicapped accessible, because we didn't want any barriers to those who want to participate," she said.

The idea came from Shorlette Stephens, who directs children's services at the library. She and Ms. Phillips saw a need for a place where people of diverse backgrounds could meet and learn about each other. They shared their idea with a local farmer, and he liked it.

"And from that point, we started researching grants," Ms. Stephens said. "We put out a few applications, but even if we don't receive a grant, that's not going to hamper our project."

Saturday's project included putting together the planter boxes and covering the ground with cardboard to keep out the weeds, said Megan Riley of the Cherry Hospital Research Farm, who is also assisting with the effort. Mulch will go on top of the cardboard in the paths, and topsoil, compost and mulch will go into the planter boxes.

"We're using 2-by-6 recycled decking lumber, because we don't want any chemicals going into the plants," she said. "We'll be eating them."

The garden will be organic and will have flowers as well as vegetables. And as progress is made, the gardeners might add some herbs and fruits like blueberries, honeydews, cantaloups and watermelons.

"And even some peppers and tomatoes, which are technically fruits," Ms. Riley said.

"We'll grow stuff that's popular in the ethnic cultures, like eggplant for the Italian and Asian gardeners and tomato and chili peppers for members of the Latino population who will be working with us."

The project has multiple partners, including the library, Ms. Riley and Bryan Green from the Cherry Research Farm, Goldsboro Recreation and Parks, Wayne County Cooperative Extension and 4-H and the Boys and Girls Club of Wayne County.