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Cultivating Community

Planting seeds, watering and feeding tiny shoots, and nurturing them into healthy plants can be a very satisfying experience. But for anyone living in an apartment or somewhere else without access to a yard, gardening may seem out of reach. Community gardens on the Leland Town Hall campus provide needed green space for residents while also enhancing the landscape of municipal property.

Senior Administrative Assistant Laurie White works with the Leland Parks and Recreation Department, and helps keep an eye on the community gardens, though she credits Recreation Supervisor Amy Wells with making the idea for the gardens blossom back in 2011.

There are six raised beds, each approximately 4 feet by 8 feet, and each being tended by a seasonal gardener. Each bed has a primary gardener who is responsible, but many of them elicit help, White explained. Once a resident takes on a bed, that person agrees to maintain the garden, through watering, cultivating and weeding, according to the Town’s website. Gardeners are also encouraged to use alternatives to chemical pesticides.

“Many people acquire a bed because their living arrangements don’t permit them to have a garden,” White said. “Some tenants are teaching their children how to plant, harvest, and eat food they have grown themselves. Others say working a garden is better than therapy!”

The gardens do get used year-round, and though it’s chilly and sometimes rainy this time of year, gardens are going strong with herbs like rosemary and parsley, and winter vegetables like kale and rhubarb. Other gardeners, White said, are beginning to work the soil to get things ready for spring plantings.

So what’s most popular among the community gardeners? White said that lots of people grow tomatoes, but there’s also lettuce, broccoli, collards and even corn.

The Town is encouraging growth beyond the gardens this spring, with its Free Plant Giveaway as part of Earth Day festivities on April 18. The event starts at 10 am in Founders Park, and will feature programs aimed at educating residents about the Earth and how to protect it.

Visit to learn more about Leland’s Community Garden program.

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