Demonstration garden draws public interest to gardening

Barbara Hootman

The demonstration garden at Lakeview Center at Lake Tomahawkin Black Mountain is in the capable hands of master gardener David Bush this year.

The garden is close to the downstairs entrance to Lakeview Center and adjacent to the outside stairs. Now two years old, the garden was started as a pilot project in spring 2015.

“This garden is a great resource for the community,” said Jill Edwards, the health service program administrator with Black Mountain’s Department of Recreation and Parks. “I love reading people’s comments in the guest book at the garden and hearing their comments whenever I’m out there.

“People love the opportunity to see things growing and either learn about them or be reminded of them. Often the comments I hear are about when someone was younger and their grandparents grew something or other, or that they didn’t know you could grow such-and-such, or how something actually looks when it is growing.”

Bush is an experienced master gardener recently moved to Black Mountain from Fort Myers, Florida where he worked in public gardens. He also gardened when he lived in Ohio until he retired and moved to Florida in 2007.

“My wife had a lot of trouble with the heat and humidity in Florida, and both of us are really enjoying living in the mountains,” he said. “Since I’ve worked in public gardens, I am happy to be taking care of the demonstration garden at Lake View Center this season. It is good for people to see plants growing, especially the seniors (who) remember the plants they used to grow in their gardens. It is a source of pleasure for them. The children that come to the lake will enjoy the plants and vegetables and learn how they grow.

“I think it is really important for children to learn where their food comes from. I have five grandchildren and I know how excited they get by seeing plants growing.”

“David is a great support for this garden,” Edwards said. “He is able to give it more time and attention than I am able (to). And having volunteers like him involved frees me up to be a better support for all of our gardens and programs.”

Master gardeners are trained to provide education and current research-based horticultural information to the community. The Buncombe County Master Gardeners are community volunteers who support and work in projects and activites that enhance the quality of life for people in local communities.

Master gardeners, all volunteers, love to garden and help others with gardening ideas and answers. After certification as a North Carolina Master Gardener, they complete at least 20 hours of continuing education every year and volunteer 30 hours of service to the master gardening program.

For more information about the Master Gardeners program contact North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension at (919) 515-2813.

Bush said his favorite flower is probably the dahlia. If there is room in the demonstration garden he may include a few of them. He also gardens at his home.

Since he has lived in the Black Mountain for only a year, he is still in the home gardening stage of planting fruit trees and moving rose bushes around on his property.

“Part of the demonstration garden will be devoted to vegetables, and then the flowers will be in the remaining space,” Bush said. “We encourage people to come, look and learn. And don’t give in to the temptation to pick the vegetables and flowers.”

Bush feels a connection with the earth when he is gardening.

“As I garden during the season it becomes a spiritual experience for me,” he said.