Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The display garden

The second garden that the other interns and I have been nurturing is the Display Garden. As the name suggests this garden is open for public viewing near many of the other garden collections. Several features of the garden make it out of the ordinary. All of the beds are raised and done so with reused/reclaimed materials like cinder blocks, bricks, and wood. Also it showcases using vertical growing space through trellising.

Another goal is to demonstrate that gardening practices can be adapted to people’s personal needs. An example of this is the enabling table, which is a raised bed that is elevated to a height for a seated gardener to plant, weed, and harvest. One of my favorite features is the “rabbit” bed. It shows that gardens do not have to be rectangular rows and as such are more pleasing to behold. In addition, the bed maximizes edge in a small compact space thereby making it easy to reach all parts of the bed. The plants needing more frequent attention are placed near the edges of the bed while less needy plants are more in the center. This makes weeding and general upkeep more manageable and decreases the likelihood of work strain.

Enabling table

The "Rabbit" Garden

Old bed springs used as trellises

The primary caretaker of the garden is Project Grow volunteer Dan Marcus. We joyfully help Dan make the garden beautiful and healthy. He has been taking many of the unwanted plants from the Botanical Garden plant sale and placing them in the display garden. Most of them are flowers that should blossom in the coming weeks, adding some more color while attracting a swarm of pollinators.

One organization that is doing great things in the Ypsilanti-Ann Arbor area is Growing Hope. Growing Hope’s mission and their current and past projects are displayed on their website: They have made big strides in providing people with the means to grow their own food and opening access for people to purchase wholesome nutritious foods from gardeners/farmers. There are many volunteer opportunities with Growing Hope. Feel free to email the volunteer coordinator Karen Spangler ( to find out how you can get involved. Currently they are providing forty families with three four by four raised beds and plants. The raised bed builds and installs are going on all this week. Be sure to check the Growing Hope Google calendar to see what times work for you to head to the Growing Hope center ( and lend a hand ( We will be helping Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley and Growing Hope tomorrow by doing raised bed repairs and general garden maintenance at a Habitat community site.

Also an aside to the bike enthusiasts: there is a great bike trail linking Ann Arbor to Ypsilanti which is called the border to border trail.
Map link: (
It is a very peaceful ride with a large portion of it running along the bank of the Huron River. Flowering trees adorn the path making for a very fragrant journey.

“When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race.” H.G. Wells

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