While living in San Francisco, Kevin McCauley and his wife had a plot at a community garden. When they moved to Atlanta, they wanted to recreate that experience.
“We loved it because it gave us a chance to play in the dirt in the city with a great community of gardeners,” McCauley says.
His idea came to life at Buckhead’s Blue Heron Nature Preserve (BHNP). The entirely organic garden (no pesticides are used) was first planted in 2006 and includes 32 plots that individuals can maintain. They plant everything from flowers to vegetables to herbs throughout the plots and are able to keep the produce for themselves. (Any produce that gardeners don’t want is contributed to the Crossroads Kitchen at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on Peachtree Street in Midtown.)
“It’s the ‘community’ in community gardening that I find most rewarding,” McCauley says. “People from all over our neighborhood, from novice to master gardeners, come together to share their interest in gardening and form friendships along the way.”
Just ask Patricia Stern, a founding member.
“I got involved with the garden because Kevin McCauley was a friend of mine,” says Stern, a Buckhead resident. “In addition to being an avid gardener, what I love is that I’ve made some very close friends there. One of my garden friends, Lorna, moved to Denver two years ago, but we continue to stay in close contact. This relationship was planted and grew at the garden.”
Community garden workdays are scheduled for the second Saturday of every month from 9 a.m. to noon, and members of the public are invited to come and help out. It costs $50 a year to rent a plot, with $25 going to support BHNP and the rest covering expenses at the garden. Those interested in getting on the waiting list for one of the 32 plots can e-mail McCauley at email@example.com.
Blue Heron Nature Preserve
4055 Roswell Road N.E.
WORD OF ADVICE:
Having a community garden plot means that you have access to more than 30 other gardeners, which is a great bonus, says Stern. “Spend time seeing what other people are doing—what’s succeeding and what’s not,” she adds. “Ask questions of experienced gardeners. And come to the community workdays, so you can get to know your fellow plot-holders. There are a lot of very cool people at the garden.”
Visit Buttermilk Kitchen to enjoy tempting tastes such as the signature chicken biscuit (with house pickles and roasted red pepper jelly)—only available on Wednesdays and during weekend brunch hours. (Open for breakfast, brunch and lunch.)
4225 Roswell Road N.E.
PHOTO: SCOTT REEVES
Atlanta-based writer and editor contributing to a number of local and state-wide publications. Instructor in Georgia State’s Communication department and Emory’s Continuing Education division.