By Claire Morgan, Volunteer Coordinator & Gift Shop Manager
As warmth begins to creep into the air, many of us are dreaming of spring. With this in mind, I recall the fond memories of the Schuylkill Center’s Community Gardens and the 80-plus families that soon will be preparing their garden beds for planting in the spring. There’s nothing like beating the winter blues with thoughts of warm days working the soil, seeing new seedlings emerge from the ground, watching bluebirds swooping down, red-winged blackbirds cackling in the tree tops, and toads croaking in the ponds.
The five acre property comes alive in the spring as the many gardeners work side by side each planning their garden. The diversity of plants grown is as great as the community of gardeners – some of our gardeners are recent immigrants, others have lived in Philadelphia their whole lives; some come just a few miles others from South Philly and beyond, one is even starting up a lavender farm. Long time gardeners work along the new gardeners sharing their seeds and secrets.
Over the past four years I have had the pleasure of overseeing the Community Gardens and this has been a true source of joy in my life. I have learned a great deal about gardening and made many new friends. This year, Denise Bratina, our rental coordinator, will take over the rental of garden plots. Denise has been ably helping people and organizations rent building and grounds out for weddings and meetings. I know Denise will love working with our gardeners as much as I have, and gardeners, I assure you that you will be in good hands with Denise.
I’ll still be here at the Center managing the gift shop, coordinating the volunteer program, and keeping an eye on those toads that like to cross the road. Please feel free to stop in and say hello. You just might see me walking the perimeter of the gardens for fresh air and exercise some day.
Want to learn more about the Organic Community Gardens? Join us this weekend at the Community Gardeners’ Meeting to meet Denise, chat with other gardeners, and find out all about the Gardens. Or, come out for Dirt & Dessert: Art & the Science of Soil on Saturday, March 21, for wine, dessert, soil testing, and learning all about soil science and how it has inspired artist Jake Beckman.