Sep 132012

Yachats Community Garden is Officially Open

On Sunday, Yachats celebrated abundance and generosity with the official opening of the Yachats Community Garden. In typical Yachats fashion, people have come together to dream and design, plan, plant and harvest on land donated to the city by Mira Frohnmayer and Marcia Baldwin, who own the house behind the garden. The result, as Mira Frohnmayer said, is a community garden full of love. “I can feel it,” she said, “from up there,” nodding toward the house as Marcia looked down from the balcony.

Accepting the gift, Mayor Ron Brean lifted a glass of sparkling cider and noted that once again, Yachatians have come together to produce something wonderful for the community.

Even before the space was given to the city, people had created order from a vacant lot and began planting on small plots. Close as it is to the ocean, the garden is sheltered from the salt-laden summer wind and people grew kale, lettuce, potatoes, spinach, chard, beets and even tomatoes. They had permission from the previous owner, Carole Dutra, but when Ms. Dutra put the property on the market, the gardeners were reluctant to invest in the improvements necessary to achieve their vision. After watching from their deck as the garden grew, Mira and Marcia decided to buy the property back (they had sold it to Ms. Dutra in the first place) and donate it to the city for a community garden.

Now the volunteers dug in. More raised beds were constructed. Some were donated by the Waldport Community Garden. Ditches were dug and water lines installed. Lorne Pledger drew a layout for the garden that was organized but left plenty of room for whimsy. Benches appeared and were scattered through the garden; one was painted bright blue with flowers and vines twining over the seats and across the back. Ground cloth was laid along the paths and covered with a ton of hazelnut shells.

There are 24 beds, and they are all different. Some are purely utilitarian—veggies for the table—but many include bright nasturtiums, roses, and poppies. Some are a hodgepodge, others show a careful eye for color—pink lavender next to blue cornflowers.

Prue Warren is the “garden gleaner.” This summer, she picked, washed, and bagged kale, cherry tomatoes, mixed salad greens, snow peas, cabbage, chard, and carrots. A neat label identifies the contents and the source. The fresh produce was delivered to the Yachats Food Pantry located in the Yachats Commons. She also dries herbs and packs them in small bags to help people “spice up” the canned food which is donated to the Food Pantry. Helping to feed members of the community reflects both the commitment of the gardeners to share the abundance and the conditions of a grant to the garden from Our Coastal Village. Prue contacts people she knows will be out of town when something in their garden patch is ripe, and gets permission to harvest it for the Food Pantry.

This garden does more than feed the body, however. Everyone is welcome to visit the garden, stroll past the vibrant greens and bright yellows and oranges, or sit on one of the benches and look across the fence to the ocean. This little oasis is a soothing, healing community jewel. One of the gardeners said she came there for a moment of solace when her husband became very ill. Another brought her morning coffee to the garden and let the peace and beauty soothe her following a number of traumatic events in her life.

Some mornings, music flows down from the balcony above the garden, another part of the loving exchange that is at the root of the Yachats Community Garden.

For more information about the Yachats Community Garden, contact Marje Takei, 541 272 3119.

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