This past week we visited a new and developing botanical garden located in Traverse City Michigan. On the grounds of the old Traverse City State Hospital farmland, the garden areas are coming together after century old buildings are being re-purposed and refurbished. On the site are plans for a variety of healing gardens, educational gardens, historical gardens, and space for a summer picnic after strolling the wooden paths.
Sustainability is used as a framework for the renovations for the property. Our guide shared with us how recycled materials from the barn are being used as outdoor lighting. Even rainwater is being captured for gardening irrigation. The visitor center exterior has been designed to accommodate bees and butterflies.
I especially loved the renovations for the large barn which is used for events, as well as the walled garden in progress. This garden is being built from the foundation of an old horse barn, and has the look and feel of an old English formal garden.
The Traverse City community garden is also located at the Historic Barnes Park, and has grown to capacity this year with every garden plot taken by community residents. Members of the non-profit organization come together to garden and share knowledge and skill for growing produce, some of which is donated to the local food banks.
An interest in community gardening has grown in past years, as individuals have embraced the idea of increased fresh local vegetable consumption combined with the desire to increase exercise. Gardening a plot of land to grow delicious food for a family certainly contributes to a healthy lifestyle. And, sharing a common area in a community builds a bond with others which could last a lifetime.
If taking a trip to Traverse City this summer, be sure to include a visit to the Historic Barnes Park to see how this community is building and growing their resources to make something very special for all to enjoy.
For more information, please follow these links: http://thebotanicgarden.org/