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KLB nearing Think 30 garden goal

Work makes Liberty more beautiful

POSTED: June 16, 2013 10:00 a.m.
Photo by Danielle Hipps/

Keep Liberty Beautiful staffers and volunteers work to plant a garden Wednesday at the Midway Museum as part of the group’s Think 30 campaign.

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Keep Liberty Beautiful staff and volunteers are hoping property owners across the county will sprout green thumbs this year as they work toward planting 30 community gardens.
The group on Wednesday planted azaleas and autumn ferns at the Midway Museum, marking its 14th garden this year.
KLB Director Sara Swida anticipates the group will surpass its goal of the Think 30 campaign, which celebrates the organization’s 30th anniversary.
“It’s a variety,” Swida said. “We’ve got a shade garden, a butterfly garden. … We’ve got some vegetable gardens we’ve been working on … gateway gardens, city signs — you name it.”
Whether the gardens yield edible crops, provide shelter from the sun’s rays or add pops of color, Swida said the project has several merits.
“It helps beautify our community, and that’s not something to be taken lightly,” she said. “As we plant these things now, over the years as they grow into full plants, it gives a lush, green feeling to our community, which makes it attractive.”
It also enhances the appearance of destinations such as the colonial museum, she added. “You add a really lovely little garden over here like that, I think it just helps enhance somewhere that we want people to come and enjoy, and we want tourists to come, too.”
On Wednesday, KLB staff members Sari Whitehurst and JoAnna Skeen had help from the Liberty County public-works department and volunteers Lindsay Swida, John Henderson and Marc Barnette in planting azaleas and autumn ferns in shaded areas along the south gate of the historic museum.
“Azaleas are great, and azaleas and autumn ferns like the same environment,” KLB advisory-board member Pam Henderson said.
Businesses, schools and local governments have joined in the effort.
Recently planted gardens include four gateway signs in Midway, two gateway and median signs in Flemington, a memorial garden at the Liberty County Department of Family and Children Services, one shade and one butterfly garden at VIP Office Furniture and Supply, landscaping at the Riceboro boat ramp, neighborhood gardening at the Lexington Neighborhood, a tower vegetable garden at the Fort Stewart School-Age Center and a raised bed at Fort Stewart United Military Care.
The crop garden at United Military Care serves as a way to offset food costs, Henderson added. “It’s just a great way to help a military program that does a great job with military families in need, and this will be a way to also add extra fresh vegetables to some of those families.”
It also ties into a Burpee seed grant the organization received that allows them to distribute seed packets to military families, Swida said.
“They can actually go home and learn to do their own gardens and have some really great plants and even recipes,” she said. “There’s just a lot of potential with those types of gardens.”
The group recently had senior citizens workshop on gardening techniques where Swida offered tips for planting potted gardens for those with limited mobility or who have little space in which to dig — such areas can yield herbs, peppers and tomatoes.
More gardens are in the works with the Hinesville Housing Authority, Southern Sweets Bakery, a downtown green space and the Liberty County Community Complex, which will have an educational rain garden, Swida said.
In the future, the KLB director hopes to expand educational and outreach programs that will acquaint people with gardening techniques, ideas and suggestions for suitable plants for the area. She also hopes to see a community crop garden come to life in downtown Hinesville.
To get involved, call Keep Liberty Beautiful at 880-4888.

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