By Allie Zaleski
The Roanoke College Garden Club has been blossoming this year, as the much-beloved garden continues to grow and expand along with the group of faithful gardeners.
The most current embodiment of the RC Garden was founded this past year by a group of devoted students. They are led by club president Mackay Pierce, vice president John Wiggins, treasurer Taylor Ferebee, volunteer coordinator Alex Ramey, and site managers Grace Monger and Jane Rice.
Less than a mile away from the college, the RC Garden is located at 300 Hawthorn Road, and is nestled at the bottom of a hill next to the Beekeeping Club’s beehives. It is a picturesque spot that was once an unused piece of land, until the current group of students took the initiative to turn it into a productive, beautiful garden. The current garden was constructed in the spring and summer of 2015, culminating in a large fenced-in area and seven gardening beds.
The construction of the garden not only provided RC students with the opportunity to design and build a new garden from scratch, but also connected the local community.Volunteers from R.E.A.C.H. Youth Missions and St. John’s UMC help fill in beds and care for the garden. This past volunteer day was a chance for the Garden Club to raise awareness about sustainability and environmental education, which are two of the core values of the organization.
The Garden Club reached one of its most exciting milestones yet on September 24, when enough Swiss Chard was harvested to supply the Commons for a few days.
Not only does the Garden Club supply fantastic produce and allow for community involvement, but it also allows students a chance to get back to their roots.
“I come from a very rural area and grew up on a subsistence farm,” said freshman Grace Monger,“I love agriculture, and it was looking for something to keep me from being so gosh-darn homesick.”
Another club member, Freshman Sophie Bookheimer said, “It brings me so much joy to care for plants and spend time outside. The Garden Club offers the community chances to be outside, connect with our environment, and most importantly, to grow alongside the plants we care for.”
In addition to all of its success, the Garden Club has exciting plans for the future.
“We are growing vegetables,” said Monger, “I am particularly pumped about the pole beans we’re looking to raise next season. They are incredibly efficient and very productive.”