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Do you love to garden but can’t bend, stoop and squat like you used to?  There is a new garden at Carver Community Center  Back Mountain that has waist-high raised beds.

“We want everyone in Black Mountain who loves to garden to be able to walk or roll to a garden close to them,” Jill Edwards, Black Mountain Recreation and Parks service programs administrator, said. “The new garden at Carver was suggested by Elizabeth Lovejoy and Erika Nelson, who is one of the original community gardeners at Lake Tomahawk who could no longer get down on the ground to garden.  These ladies really motivated us.”

Erika Nelson is thrilled to be back in the garden growing vegetables and herbs.

“This garden has allowed me to return to my love of gardening,” Nelson said.  “I’ve been gardening for a long time.  I started with the late Dr. John Wilson in the first community garden at Lake Tomahawk, and then I went to the Dr. John Wilson Community Garden.  Four ear surgeries stopped me from gardening because I got vertigo from leaning over planting, digging and working in the garden.  I had to totally stop gardening.  But the new garden is a joy, with a raised bed up to my waist. I’ve spent a little over two hours getting the dirt ready, and dividing the area for square foot planting.

“I love to sow seeds and watch the plants come up.  Once again I am doing something I really love to do.”

It costs $20 to participate in the new special needs garden at Carver Community Center, 101 Carver Ave. But if the fee is a problem, the Department of Recreation and Parks will set up a payment plan.

There are three community gardens and one demonstration garden in Black Mountain.  Black Mountain Primary and Black Mountain Elementary schools also have gardens that were made possible in 2015 by a grant from the Black Mountain Kiwanis Club.

“We really want to devote more time to the school gardens, but we have had too many irons in the fire recently to do so,” Edwards said.  “We could use some really devoted gardening volunteers to help us. We would like to get the Flat Creek Community residents who live close to the primary and elementary schools to volunteer to help with those gardens. The Extension Master Gardeners of Buncombe County are excited about our new garden for special needs folks and will do a lot of volunteer helping with it.”

Edwards said that the special needs garden is a work in progress throughout the gardening season.

“We are learning what works for our community,” she said.  “The public works employees helped us a lot with the building of the raised beds,” Edwards said.  "There is a special water spigot that is easy to reach, and the entire area is covered with the same material as the walking paths at Lake Tomahawk.  We are trying to take some of the physical pain out of gardening for our special needs folks".

In the near future benches will be added to the Carver garden as well as shade trees and picnic tables.

All vegetables grown by the gardeners at Carver remain with the gardeners for their own personal use.

John Murray, a member of the Greenways Commission, designed the raised beds, Edwards said.  “He devoted many hours of consulting time to the special needs garden project. Also, Danny’s Dumpster in Asheville donated excellent compost to the garden.”

For more,  e-mail jill.edwards@townofblackmoiuntain.org or phone 669-2052.

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