U of M’s community garden blossoms with multiple spring events
By Greg Russell
The University’s TIGUrS garden is entering its third season with a huge Earth Day
celebration, a Native American garden plot to include corn, squash and beans, and
a spring “planting” day April 14.
“The garden is open to the public, including faculty, staff and students, and we encourage
them to come pick the produce when it is ripe,” said garden committee member Felicia
Balding, a graduate assistant in health and sport sciences. “In the next year, the
garden will have professional signage and will include more avenues for communication
through social networking and web resources such as Facebook, Twitter and blogging.”
Art Johnson, garden coordinator, said, “Not only are we adding more items to the gardens
in general, but we'll be taking our initiative in a far broader direction based upon
a wider ethnic as well as visual diversity."
Such diversity, says Johnson, will include a Native American garden inspired and directed
by Earth Sciences assistant professor Dr. Judson Finley. Also included are a greater
variety of geographically unique crops and herbs ranging from Middle Eastern and Mediterranean
to Asiatic, the inclusion of more fruit bearing trees, shrubs and much more.
Students, faculty and staff will find a wide range of activities in the garden this
"We're formulating a grand start in mid-April with a come-one, come-all plant-starting
day and an Earth Day celebration to be remembered," said Dr. Karyl Buddington, founder
and director of the garden. "And these are just the seasonal kick-off events. We're
also considering an art show, a barbeque contest or other cook-off, and other festival-style
gatherings. We’ll also have the more traditional gardening staples of multiple volunteer
days and many other opportunities that bring students, school staff and the community
together in an organically-based, visually soothing and deliciously enriching setting."
Several U of M instructors have scheduled their students for volunteer days — the
students receive extra credit in exchange.
“How do you beat that?" said Johnson. “Building community, partaking in tasty, thoughtfully-grown
produce, learning, exercise, sunshine, fresh air and adding to one's grade-point average.
Life is good in the garden. You should join us!"
Located just east of the Elma Roane Fieldhouse, the community garden includes herbs,
flowers and vegetables that can be picked free of charge when ripe.
It contains mainstays such as tomatoes and corn, and according to Balding, new possibilities
this year include blueberry and olive trees, chamomile, geranium, bee balm and white
The Earth Day celebration will include several events (see accompanying article) on
April 21. Earth Day is April 22, but the U of M will celebrate a day early as it falls
on a Friday this year.
TIGUrS stands for Tiger Initiative for Gardening in Urban Settings.
To learn more about the garden and how to participate in the April 14 planting day,
contact Buddington (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Johnson (email@example.com).