Last summer the County cleared the land next to what is commonly referred to as the “Walker House” as the important first step to creating a new community garden at Hyde Farm. The Master Gardener Volunteers of Cobb County, operating under the UGA/Cobb Co. Extension, used $ 25,000 in grant money from various sources to install fencing, a tool shed, purchase the wood and excellent garden soil for 40 raised bed garden plots. Two beds are raised for handicap access and two beds are given with priority to veterans at no charge. Master Gardeners, Boy Scouts, and volunteers from Wheeler High School and KSU built and installed the beds. With advertising limited to a banner on the fence and an article the October issue of the East Cobber magazine, all 40 beds were reserved in less than 30 days. In response to a long waiting list, another 10 beds were added in February. Those beds are also rented and once again there is a wait list.
The yearly fee for a plot is $ 50 for the gardening year which runs from March 1 through February. Phase 2 calls for finishing the inside of the shed – the garden already received over $ 600 of free donated tools to stock the shed. Next will be installation of pollinator beds along the perimeter inside the fence. Part of these beds will be dedicated feeding stations for Monarch and Swallowtail butterflies along with other seasonal plantings to attract and support a wide range of pollinators. A troop of Girls Scout volunteers will help install the pollinator plants.
The Cobb UGA/Extension Master Gardeners have already held 2 free educational programs open to the public at the garden. Another is scheduled for April. The Master Gardeners plan to use the garden as an educational attraction and will schedule classes in partnership with the Monarch Society and others. One of the new Hyde Farm gardeners has offered to build and donate bluebird nesting boxes which will attract additional bluebird families to the farm. In May, the Hyde Farm Garden will be featured on the Master Gardener Garden Tour – hopefully raising public awareness about the jewel that is Hyde Farm.
Thanks to County partnerships with organizations like UGA/Cobb Extension and the Master Gardeners, together with volunteer help from scouts and students, wonderful public community gardens like Hyde Farm are coming to life. Just another example of what makes our Cobb County such a special place to live.