Over 80 varieties of plants are growing in the Read and Feed Community Garden, a project of the Harrison District Library this year. The garden is in its 10th growing year and was on the annual garden tour in 2019.
During COVID, like everything else, there was a dip in library patrons “checking out” beds for the year and community gardening. Enter Skip Forrest, a certified nurseryman who recently retired to Harrison. He began with a plot in 2021 and expanded this year to plots not claimed.
While flowers and dramatic blooms weren’t the original mission of the garden, the beautiful show on the corner of Second and Main streets is full of pollinators.
“It’s teeming with life this year,” Forrest said. “There are bees, hummingbirds, butterflies. At different times of the day, it’s full of life.”
There are four vegetable plots this year in addition to the garden’s perennial beds of asparagus, strawberries, currants, dill and blackberries.
Forrest spent most of his career in Texas. He began in the early 1980s and his career gave him a passion for growing plants, seeding saving, and creating beautiful spaces.
“This is really an experiment for me,” he said. “Most of these varieties of plants I haven’t grown before. My background is in Texas and a lot of plants don’t grow the same here. I wanted to challenge myself since I hadn’t worked in a few years. I have a lot of ideas.”
Forrest visits the garden daily for watering, trimming, and enjoying the garden. He’s constantly making plans in his head for what he would change or what would grow best in locations around the garden.
“I’d really like to take what I’ve learned this year and apply it toward next year’s project and try to make the area look really impressive, of course adding some vegetables and also incorporate a really nice herb garden.”
Forrest will be available during the garden tour to answer questions and talk about plants. (See box for ticket information.)
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