Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.
On Saturday, I led my first-ever gardening project. I’m a planner, an organizer, and really good at supporting other leaders, so taking lead was stepping out of my comfort zone. I also still consider myself a beginner Florida gardener and had hoped to have a more skilled gardener to guide me. But sometimes, we just have to leap and go for it.
My vision was to incorporate a gardening experience that required little or no maintenance and to add color and educational opportunities throughout campus. So I studied my Florida planting books and then travelled to a few local nurseries (4 Bees Farm, Crowley Nursery, Florida Native Plant Nursery) to purchase Florida-friendly plants. I came away with an array of butterfly plants, wildflowers, herbs, grasses and vegetable seedlings. We were set to begin.
I joined forces with 15 volunteers and the school to start phase one. The project included: constructing raised beds filled with vegetables and herbs, removing dead shrubs, and designing two butterfly gardens. In the future the plan is to incorporate more edibles to the raised beds, add fruit trees to help provide aesthetics and educational opportunities, and to integrate color with wildflower gardens throughout the campus.
This project transformed more than just a school’s landscape. This blog is mostly about me growing plants, but it’s also about growing as a woman. This project allowed me the opportunity to share my spiritual connection to plants, and, in turn, I learned how amazing volunteers can come together; that my knowledge of Florida plants exceeds what I read in books; and that I’m not only learning, but retaining information. Most importantly, I learned that I CAN.