Experiential Growth In the Garden

IMG_1521This year at TCS we are celebrating all the wonderful community gardens who have become host sites for integral internships that accommodate a wide range of our participants.  Our partnership with The Wylde Center has continued to blossom and we are excited to announce that we have also partnered with Avril’s Carwash & Detailing, an all natural carwash with a beautiful rustic gift store and a large outdoor garden.

Our participants take on a variety of tasks at these sites. Some days our participants help the sites get ready for plant sales, clean and create signs, de-weed garden beds, and plant seedlings whereas other days they may be perusing the chicken coups, cutting back overgrown brush, hanging with the resident garden cats (like our participants favorite black and white kitty, Cardoon), and feeding goats.

Lauren (1)Mary Jane Leach (MJ to our staff and participants) is our gregarious and altruistic gardener at The Wylde Center. We have met with her for several years now and she has accommodated a wealth of our participants helping them feel at home, comfortable, accepted, and needed at the garden communities that she oversees. Many of our participants have cultivated life-changing job skills and developed a greater sense of purpose working on the projects that MJ provides for us.

We usually meet with MJ at The Oakhurst Garden which has many great offerings beyond plant sales, such as local honey and handmade crafts from local artisans in addition to being one of the best places in the city to go on a picnic! Recently however, MJ showed us another hidden gem of a garden that is only a few blocks away from Fox Brother’s BBQ in the Candler Park neighborhood. The garden is called Mulberry Fields and has been established as a protected green space in the City of Atlanta. Mulberry Fields was originally part of a dairy farm started in the late 1800’s and one of the original farmhouses still stands today! MJ took us on a tour of the garden where we got to see the grounds, checked out their goats and the goats’ kids (kids are baby goats incase you didn’t already know), and an amazing metal chicken sculpture she told us they sometimes light fires in at night during small festivals at the garden.

It is wonderful to work outside and to connect with so many different communities across our city. Our participants especially appreciate the fresh air and the serene environments which in many cases can be helpful for calming and soothing sensory needs. TCS has really grown in these communities gardens and we are happy to tend to the soil of the relationships that we have garnered at these sites.

Benjamin J. Davidow


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