One of our favorite trends of the last few years is the growing interest in community gardens. These collaborative spaces allow people to come together and share their love of plants, all while making a positive impact on the neighborhood. Community gardens have been around for thousands of years, but many Hoosiers are just now getting interested—and we’re pretty excited about it.
What’s so great about community gardening?
Engledow has deep roots in the Indianapolis community. We’ve been here since 1932, and over that time we’ve cultivated countless relationships with people and organizations throughout the area we serve. Our many decades here have shown us firsthand how gardens bring people together—and how being surrounded by lush plant life can bring about many health benefits.
A community garden is not only the perfect place to get these health benefits, it also gives you a great chance to make new friends, and to get to know your neighbors. You might be surprised how many of them want to help out if you just ask.
Need more convincing? Here are a few other reasons we love community gardens:
- They’re attractive additions to a neighborhood, especially when they’re full of flowers and well maintained.
- They can be an excellent refuge for wildlife.
- They can be used to repurpose barren land.
- They create fresh, healthy produce you can eat or sell.
- They provide a great way to enjoy the outdoors while getting some exercise.
What are the different kinds of community gardens?
There are several different types of community gardens, each with a unique approach:
- Communal garden: This is the most common form of community garden and involves a group of people taking care of the entire garden together. Responsibilities are usually divvied up to make sure everyone has a role. Oftentimes, these gardens can be used to grow food for charitable purposes, or to help feed the neighborhood.
- Allotment garden: An allotment garden is similar to a communal garden, but is divided into sections. Each person or family is responsible for their own portion, but gardening tools and other resources are often still shared among participants.
- Educational garden: An educational garden is usually created together with a school or community youth organization to help teach kids horticulture. The goal of these gardens is to get kids excited about plants, so they’ll go home and start growing their own.
How do I get involved?
We’re glad you asked! If you want to get started right away, Marion County manages two community gardens, and you’re invited to participate. These are located at Eagle Creek Park Gardens and at the Mayor’s Garden Plots. You can even reserve your own plot at either location.
There are plenty of other community gardens around our city to check out. We’d recommend taking a look at the Lawrence Community Gardens, the Keystone + Monon Community Garden, and the St. Joan of Arc Community Garden to get a good idea of what a successful community garden looks like. Keep in mind that many community gardens are also happy to take volunteers.
If you want to start a new community garden in your neighborhood, we recommend contacting your neighborhood association. Ask them if they’re open to the idea, and if there’s any land available to use. If not, don’t be discouraged: Some community gardens are maintained on private property—or you might be able to start one in a nearby neighborhood.
We also recommend speaking with your friends and neighbors to gauge interest. If you find others are enthusiastic about the garden, it’ll make your job that much easier. Don’t forget you might also be able to get a grant or other support from local organizations who want to help with your community garden. It never hurts to ask!
All of us at Engledow think community gardening is one of the best ways to bring your friends and neighbors together to enjoy nature. We hope this trend continues, and we’re excited to see what the future holds for community gardening here in Indiana.
If you’re looking to work with some of our community’s most experienced landscapers and horticulturalists, we’d love to talk. Our team can help you with lawn care, adding flowers to your property, and much more. Contact us today!