Community garden grows in Arlington SLIDESHOW

ARLINGTON — The Arlington Garden Club still has four garden beds available in its community garden of 28 beds across the street from the Arlington Library, and it’s hoping to attract more helping hands for the garden and more members in general.

“We started these community gardens to benefit the Arlington Community Food Bank,” said Bea Randall, past president and workshop chair of the Arlington Garden Club. “People were allowed to keep some of what they grew here, as long as they gave the rest to the food bank.”

While Carol Jaques acknowledged that weeds have begun to crop up in some untended areas, Randall laughed as she recalled how an act of vandalism a few years ago made the community gardens even more of an interwoven community than the Garden Club had intended.

“We had a lady who used to come by here with six kids, teaching them how to garden,” Randall said. “One morning, she came by to discover that someone had pulled every single plant out of the garden beds. So at 8 a.m., they replanted all the plants, but they didn’t know where any of them went, so when the rest of us returned to our garden beds we didn’t know where our own plants had gone.”

While the plants remained put in their new locations, Randall explained that any gardener whose plants had been previously owned by another had to share those plants.

“It was the most fun we’d had in years, and I don’t ever want to do it again,” Randall said.

One common denominator of the Garden Club and many of its members is age. Randall’s two artificial knees require her to lie on towels, on her stomach, to tend to her plants, but she still digs in the dirt as often as she can, and she’s already planning for the Garden Club’s 80th birthday in 2014.

While Jack and Joyce Lybyer aren’t as young as they used to be, they haven’t slowed down either.

“He’d live his whole life outside if he could,” Joyce Lybyer laughed, as her husband weeded his plot. “This club is about community, and you’ve got to be willing and able to support it with your time and talent.”

All the same, the current Garden Club members wouldn’t mind an infusion of new blood, which is why they’re welcoming community members to attend upcoming classes at the community gardens at the corner of Washington Avenue and Second Street, including “Making Your Yard Bird Friendly” by Alan Mearns of the Audubon Society on Saturday, Sept. 15, from 2-3:30 p.m. Mark Lovejoy of Garden Treasures will be swinging by on Saturday, Oct. 13, from 10 a.m. to noon to demonstrate how to “Grow Great Garlic.”

“These gardens are a great learning center and an asset to the community,” Virginia Hatch said.

Looking even further ahead into the fall, Saturday, Nov. 17, will mark the Garden Club’s first holiday garden arts and crafts show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Judy Ness is encouraging those looking to secure vendor contracts to  obtain more information for this juried show to call 360-474-7018, email or log onto

To learn more about the available community garden beds, call Hatch at 360-403-1011.


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