Heritage Garden: A great Teaching Resource in Coweta

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By Marci Moore, Special to The Shopper

If you’ve been to the Coweta County Fairgrounds on Pine Road, or to the wonderful James E. McGuffey Nature Center for a relaxing stroll through all the labeled Georgia Native specimens, you’ve probably passed the Heritage Garden and not even realized it.

It has been a part of the fairgrounds complex since the fairgrounds moved to its current location in the early 2000s and offered visual interest and a little agricultural history for visitors. The Master Gardener Extension Volunteers (MGEV) have worked hard over the past few years to improve this little garden with things like drip irrigation and cover crops, which improved the soil fertility.

In 2018, MGEVs decided this garden was a diamond in the rough and as a team of volunteers began clearing out privet and other invasive plants from one of the Nature Center trails, they saw that the trail connected the Nature Center to the Heritage Garden.

With a little work and some mulch added to pathways, it made for a leisurely stroll through different trails full of informative signs that wind through a beautiful wooded area next to a pond complete with a fountain.

The next time you’re visiting the Nature Center be sure to check out the Heritage Garden too. The garden is a great educational area for children. There is also an overlook area close by with bench seating that’s used for Extension presentations and workshops.

This year the volunteers and 4H members are planting tomatoes, peppers, green beans and okra all grown from seed by MGEVs. The bamboo trellis for the pole beans and small wooden saplings to support the tomatoes definitely portray the garden as a typical old-fashioned Coweta County garden much like many of our grandparents had in their yards. The veggies are sold at the Coweta Farmer’s Market each Wednesday and Saturday beginning June 1st and the proceeds go toward the garden fund.

The Heritage Garden team includes: Joanne Donahay, Faye Haynes, Roni Wolcott, Nancy Harrelson, Kathy Olmstead, Susan Mills, Mark Hess, Beverly Maddox and Dale Senko.

Susan and Kathy are focused on growing herbs, while Roni and Joanne will be providing pollinator plants, as well as shade loving plants. There will even be a Bug Hotel! Yes, that’s right!

Once the plants are in the ground and the irrigation system is in place, focus will be on designing educational signs for you, our visitors. We invite you to come regularly and watch as the garden progresses and Mother Nature changes small green plants into dynamic plants or vines covered with healthy food! Bring your children and grandchildren.

For information on upcoming gardening classes, contact the Coweta County Extension office at 770-254-2620 and add your email address to the Extension listserv to get all the announcements.

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