Growing community in the garden
Gabrielle Belmore has been gardening at the Wilsonville Community Garden for five years. She shares a plot with her friend and they visit their plot three times a week. Gardening is an essential part of who she is.
"My interest in gardening stems from childhood. My grandmother had a garden and I loved the fresh peas," said Belmore.
She chose the Wilsonville Community Garden because of its spaciousness and the sunshine it gets, which is lacking at her residence in West Linn. Now the Wilsonville Community Garden is a place where Belmore finds peace.
"I wanted a garden space for myself to create gardens in a different way and design within my space," Belmore said.
She first comes up with designs in her head, and then implements them to be aesthetically pleasing rather than solely designed to maximize produce.
"I'm not just doing it for myself," Belmore said. "I am in a space that is for everyone and I think about that when I'm creating."
The Wilsonville Community Garden is bright and welcoming with fruits, vegetables and flowers of all kinds. The garden plots are offered to local residents like Belmore so they can garden with their friends and neighbors in a convenient location with sun exposure, deer fences and accessible watering systems. The plots were recently renovated to provide for better sunlight exposure and improved growing conditions.
Bright yellow sunflowers tower in the gardens welcoming Todd Traughber, another avid community gardener who grew up gardening. Traughber has gardened at other community gardens in the past but continues to return to the Wilsonville Community Garden because of its semi-rural location by the river. Traughber grew a large amount of marigolds last year. "They are rooted in Spanish traditions and Dia de los Muertos," Traughber said.
"Someone came by from the West Linn-Wilsonville School District and brought their class by and took pictures of the flowers and took marigolds to the school."
Experiences like these give the garden its community feel. Traughber has seen people from many different walks of life at the garden.
"You always see people here coming in from different cultures. It's a big melting pot. There are lots of kids and it's great to see children who want to get involved with gardening," he said.
The Wilsonville Community Garden has been helping residents find the joy of gardening for many years. Belmore and Traughber are just two of the many Wilsonville residents who are deeply passionate about gardening and have been tending plots at the community gardens. Residents who come to the gardens rent their own plots or share plots with other gardeners. They, like many others, have enjoyed the creative experience and the opportunity to meet the extended Wilsonville community.
The gardens welcome active gardeners who work their own plots as well as those who just come by to meet friends or admire the gardens.