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Learning For Life Garden 

In its inaugural growing season, volunteers for the Learning for Life Garden created a temporary demonstration garden using straw bales salvaged from the Cooperative Extension Service office relocation. Vegetable harvesting from the bales continued until December 4, 2010. On that date, Master Gardeners volunteering for this project  along with some spouses  constructed numerous 4'x16' raised beds and broke the bales into compost material.
Improvements continued throughout the winter. In January, irrigation specialist Alex Garton, son of 

Forsyth County Extension Agent and Office Coordinator Dr. Stephen Garton, drove in from Alabama to help Master Gardeners and spouses dig trenches and assemble irrigation pipe to bring water into the raised beds.

"We're installing drip irrigation," Alex Garton said. "It keeps water close to the soil surface. This prevents water loss and keeps water near where plants need it."
The low-cost irrigation system consists of a central, underground PVC pipe with spurs that connect to exposed pipe at each bed. Soaker hoses will distribute water within the beds initially, with drip irrigation a future possibility. Two beds can be watered simultaneously without overwhelming the low flow of water at the building connection.

According to Dr. Garton, the Forsyth County Master Gardeners contributed $500 to the project in 2010 and have budgeted $1,000 for 2011.  "Part of the funds will be used to create power-point like metal placards to inform visitors what we're doing in the Learning for Life Garden," Dr. Garton said. "I think this will be a wonderful way to show people what they can do to make their own back yards productive. Our challenge now is to decide what to plant so that we have a three-year rotation."

The rotation began on March 1, when a crew of Master Gardeners planted potatoes, onions, lettuce and other winter vegetables in two raised beds.

Learning for Life Garden 2011 project manager Laura Varney designed the garden. "It's an educational garden, so we're not just sowing seeds, we're sowing knowledge," she said. The Learning for Life Garden is located at the Forsyth County Extension Office, 875 Lanier 400 Parkway, Cumming, GA 30040.

Visit us on Facebook to follow the gardens progress

PAST PROJECTS

Native Garden

The Louise Mashburn Native Plant Garden is being developed and maintained by the Forsyth County Master Gardeners to educate the public about native plants of the South, especially those found on Sawnee Mountain. 
Plants are labeled with both their Latin and common names, and a tri-fold brochure containing information on the plants is available at the garden’s entrance. The plants that can be found growing wild on the mountain are noted in the brochure and a green dot can be found on their identification sign next to the plant in the demonstration garden.
The public is encouraged to visit the garden often to see the plants go through their seasonal changes. Enhance your time on the mountain by a visit to the garden prior to walking the park’s trails where you can locate, identify and enjoy the plants in their native habitat. Look for the Louise Mashburn Native Plant Garden near the picnic pavilion, just to the left of the playground.
Funding for the garden has been provided by the Forsyth County Master Gardeners, the Georgia Master Gardener Association, and the Forsyth County Parks and Recreation Department.
 
A benefit of using native plants in a landscape (if they are properly matched to the site conditions) is that they require little maintenance after they become established.  However, even native plants need care and attention including adequate moisture when becoming established.  The recent drought and watering restrictions have impacted the pace at which we can develop the garden.  A number of plants were obtained through plant rescues.  Some are just becoming established and have not reached maturity.  Additional plants are planned and will be added as plants become available and the weather/season is conducive for planting. 
 
The initial Garden was created in the fall of 2005 at a nearby location in the Preserve.  In late 2006 a Recreation Management Plan completed by UGA recommended that the Garden be moved to the present location to give it more visibility and to better utilize the area.  Additional benefits of the move were proximity to a water source, a larger area, and sun and shade exposures.  The garden was created in its present location in the spring of 2007.
 
     
Remember 

What you find on the mountain must stay on the mountain for the enjoyment of others as well as the survival of the plants in the wild.   Many of these native plants are fragile.  When they are small or dormant you may not see them and they can be injured or killed by even the smallest of footsteps.  Please stay on the trail both in the garden and on the mountain.
 
Location

Sawnee  Mtn. Preserve
2500 Bettis-Tribble Gap Road
Cumming, GA 30040
Hours:
M-F   8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
 
Annandale Garden
 
Master Gardeners from Forsyth and Gwinnett counties planned and planted gardens for the residents of the Annandale Skilled Nursing Center.  A 700 square foot bed of perennials were planted in the Memorial Garden.  We were very careful to choose plants that were deer tolerant as the deer are plentiful around Annandale. Additionally, square foot gardening was introduced to the gardening residents on raised beds for their assistance in planting with ease.