Anthony Sillman is a big zucchini fan, but peas don’t do much for the budding gardener. Anthony, 12, has been helping his parents garden since he was about 5 years old. That background was likely a plus when he entered a contest to name Linn County’s community garden network.
Anthony, a sixth-grader at Oak Ridge Middle School in Marion, came up with the winning name of Buds. “I thought of Buds because it’s a community garden, like buddies,” he said. “And also the buds of a plant.” Anthony has already bought raspberry and blackberry plants with part of his prize. His favorite part of gardening? “It’s fun to be able to watch stuff grow,” he said.
Here is more from Buds, Linn County’s community garden network:
Local gardeners looking to connect with other gardeners and expert resources needn’t look any further than Buds, Linn County’s newly named community garden network.
“We’re a loose, informal group,” said coordinator Dora Bopp, a community development specialist with HACAP (Hawkeye Area Community Action Program). Bopp devised a contest for local school children to create a name and logo that would distinguish the network. The winning entry came from Oak Ridge Middle School sixth grader Anthony Sillman, whose name, Buds, and accompanying logo, planting seeds for a fresh community, will appear on network resources, including the upcoming website www.budsgardennetwork.org.
Anthony received $245 in gift certificates to Frontier Gardens, Earle May, and the Habitat ReStore, in addition to gardening supplies from local retailers. “I’m planning to buy seeds for strawberry plants, blackberries, and raspberries. I’m going to plant them in my garden. I have three gardens that me and my mom plant stuff in,” Anthony said.
Buds was established as the Linn County Community Garden Network in 2009. It blossomed this year to include 30 members and 10 community garden sites with an additional seven to be added this season. The group functions as a support system for community gardens by securing seeds, starter plants, and informational resources, such as expertise from members as well as a listing of online resources. One member is an ISU Extension specialist, explained Bopp, and many other members share their gardening expertise. The Oakhill Jackson neighborhood garden is open to anyone who wishes to harvest from it.
“We have been present at many community events to help bring awareness to our efforts,” said Bopp. “We are a very young and new group. We have a lot of passionate folks on the network who want to connect people to gardening and to each other…. We hope by inspiring more to garden that some will grow to sell at farmer’s markets.”
To become a member of Buds, contact Dora Bopp at HACAP Community Development, 5560 6th St SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404, or call 319-551-7182 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.