Gray Mockingbird Community Garden In Lake Worth Returns This Season With A Vengeance

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All photos, Tricia Woolfenden
Garden organizer, Brian Kirsch, shows off a barrel converted into a vertical sweet potato planter. 
There's good news for wannabe plant whisperers and budding locavores in Lake Worth (or anyone, really, who may be grossed out by the latest round of fruit and vegetable recalls involving seemingly innocuous food items). Gray Mockingbird Community Garden in Lake Worth will open on Saturday, September 15, with a community service day that is open to anyone interested in participating in the garden. In fact, planting already has begun, in case you want to get a jump on the fall.
  
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Kirsch indicates an area of the garden that has since been torn up to make way for a row of native plants. 
Lake Worth resident Brian Kirsch is among those leading efforts to revamp the garden, which sits on space on loan from the adjacent Scottish Rite Masonic Center at 2000 North D Street. Kirsch and fellow volunteers and organizers have been working feverishly in the garden for months, prepping it for the approaching growing season. 

"This is such a great piece of property," Kirsch said of the large space, which wraps around the back of the Scottish Rite's massive white building near Lake Worth's hard-to-miss water tower. The Scottish Rite is among the long list of municipal, community, and corporate supporters -- a few of which include the City of Lake Worth, Home Depot, UF/IFAS Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Service, R.O. Smith Landscape, and Aldrich Tool Rental -- who've helped to make the garden possible. 

The project, which debuted in 2010, faced some setbacks in its first few seasons, including a significant frost which killed off a good portion of the plants. Ambitions are high for this year's undertaking. When Clean Plate Charlie visited Gray Mockingbird earlier this month, Kirsch talked of plans for the upcoming season, which include significant overhauls in the look and features for the garden. 

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Looking toward the front entrance of the garden, Kirsch said that area should become a "food forest."
Among the changes include planting a row of edible native plants to replace a line of invasive species that have since been removed. Kirsch is getting help from local Florida native advocates to install beneficial plants like mulberry trees and cocoplum shrubs. Other ideas in the works include installing rain barrels, a mobile "edible wall," and hosting workshops at the garden. 

There are a variety of planting options available, including renting raised beds or planting in containers. If you'd like to be involved with Gray Mockingbird, particularly the upcoming opening day activities, call 561-246-0148 and/or "like" the garden's Facebook page here



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