Mayor Johnny Crist envisioned a as a possible “next step to pull people together” in the downtown area. After a trip to a garden in Pennsylvania with his mom, he came back to Lilburn stronger in the belief that it would help to build relationships while being a teaching tool for those who have a desire to learn a bit about gardening or horticulture.
With visions of underground sprinkler systems and manicured walkways as motivation, he called for volunteers – those with knowledge to create a garden as well as those who wanted to learn. A plot of land just beyond the tracks and a range of experience in the team seemed to be the perfect combination for a strong start.
A visit to a more local community garden in Tucker brought the concept well into focus – though on a more intimate scale. Beautifully maintained by gardeners of varying degrees of expertise and ideals, the Tucker garden is watered by hand. Participants are enthusiastic about the project and their own little plot; pride in the accomplishment is evident.
After the visit, Crist and his growing committee of volunteers re-configured their vision for a smaller plot geared towards those who are passionate about working in the dirt and educating others on all aspects of gardening and harvesting.
They've begun surveying the plot – on the smaller portion back by the stream, with parking in the front and the garden on the back side of the land. They’ll reuse some chain link that’s in storage to keep some of the deer away from the tender plants and set up a plots “We’ll grade it, fence it, THEN set out plots,” Crist said.
Privately funded, the committee is only asking for the city to provide a water line to the garden. The garden in Tucker pays less than $20 per month for water; the mayor thinks the private donations can more than cover this expense.
His vision is to cross over Main Street onto Camp Creek and encounter the Farmers Market on the right hand side of the street. Looking to the left, you’ll see “the drop-dead beautiful” Community Garden.
As with other community gardens, they plan to offer plots with stipulations as well as an educational and training section which has been included in the plans. “It will be another way for our community to come together.”