While gardening can be viewed as a solitary activity that we perform in our front yards and backyards, there are in fact places in which communities strive to build beautiful gardens together. Once on the same team, these individuals don’t just improve the aesthetic appeal of their surroundings, but also the bond in which they have with their neighbours.
On this week’s episode of “Ageless Gardens” (Monday, March 5 at 9pm ET/6pm PT), a group of community gardeners campaign to change city boulevard gardening laws. A radio host (Charlie Dobbin of ZoomerRadio!) keeps a virtual community of gardeners together, over the airwaves. What’s more, recent immigrants and refugees seek engagement with others in their new community, while over 200 volunteers work together to maintain a vast public garden for all to enjoy.
To get you ready for the Community Gardening chapter of “Ageless Gardens,” Charlie Dobbin, host of ZoomerRadio’s Garden Show (Saturdays at 9am ET/6am PT), offers her perspective on what makes gardening with those in your community such a positive endeavor.
Q: How much of a positive impact could a collective gardening scene have on a community?
Charlie: “Whenever a community comes together over a common goal, typically positive results happen. Through my years of experience as a judge with Communities in Bloom, I have seen communities as diverse as Red Lake, Bracebridge, Whitby and Strathroy come together over gardens. Of course it’s not just the gardens – caring for the community includes debris on the streets, municipal trees, sports fields, and more. I have seen unbelievable levels of pride that has led to less vandalism (i.e. graffiti and trash). Tidiness and care of our world is infectious! Community gardeners have a pretty unlimited impact on everyone around them.”
Q: What do you believe is the most beautiful aspect of a public garden, maintained by a community of citizens?
Charlie: “The first thought that comes to mind is diversity. Community gardens are all about growing what you love – and as every gardener knows – we can all be quite passionate about what we love. Different people from different backgrounds will always want to cultivate a little bit of ‘home.’ Whatever that might mean. It can mean plants from a different part of the world, native plants we don’t see very often, or maybe the plants we remember fondly from our youth. It is through sharing our stories that we learn more about each other.”
Q: Why does gardening lend itself so well to heightened, healthy social interaction?
Charlie: “Honestly, you’d have to look long and hard to find a ‘mean’ gardener. In my experience, gardeners are sharing, caring souls. They just want to help you be successful in whatever endeavor you have set for yourself. No question there is a bit of competition too, but the willingness to pass on knowledge and family secrets is unbelievable! Hanging out with gardeners is actually a pretty cool way to spend time. Trust me!”
For more with Charlie, you can listen to her latest episode of “The Garden Show,” right here!