Decatur Community Gardener Receives Gifts to Expand Harvest | Garden & Landscape


The construction of the greenhouse that will be used to start the seedlings that will be planted in the community garden at Torrence Park Ladybug Mountain provided an opportunity to learn a variety of building skills that will benefit students at Heartland Technical Academy.


DECATUR — Wendy Taylor spent Monday afternoon like she was at her own birthday party.

As a volunteer creating and organizing the community garden, The Ladybug Mountain, in her Torrence Park neighborhood, Taylor received donations to help her plant this year.

“I’m so excited,” she said after receiving the surprise gifts.

Her gifts, which included gloves, tools, seeds and other items to start the growing season, were donated by Decatur Block by Block and Lowe’s. “It’s to support all of Wendy’s efforts,” Ellen Hearn said. “She’s doing all of this at her own expense.”

As Executive Director of Decatur Block by Block, Hearn wanted to recognize Taylor and the volunteer work she has brought to the Torrence Park neighborhood and community gardens. “We want to support these volunteers by giving them a shower,” Hearn said of Taylor and the volunteers. “In her spare time, she works to provide enrichment opportunities for young people in this particular field.”

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The various seeds and plants included zucchini, lettuce, radishes and pumpkins. “So she should be in a good place with a lot of things growing very soon,” Hearn said.

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Wendy Taylor was all smiles on Monday as new additions, including a greenhouse and new garden beds, to the Torrence Park Ladybug Mountain community garden. The added structures were provided by students from Heartland Technical Academy.


For more than 10 years, the garden has been growing. Educational opportunities for neighborhood children have also expanded. In addition to learning about nature and where their food comes from, they learned the value of their work. The Richland Community College Farmer’s Market has embraced the community garden volunteers and the food they grow. “We were able to start teaching kids about money and selling what they actually grew,” Taylor said. “And they learned that food doesn’t start at the grocery store. It’s a lot of work.

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New garden beds were among the features built by members of the Industrial Trades class at Heartland Technical Academy.


In 2021, students in the industrial trades class at Heartland Technical Academy built a greenhouse, then moved it to the gardens. The greenhouse will be used to start plants from seed, Taylor said. “The kids were actually putting the seeds in the individual little containers and watching them grow,” she said.

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Heartland students built raised beds for this year’s contribution to Taylor’s gifts. “It’s going to be great,” she said. “Because we have little critters that love snacking on cabbage and all that good stuff.”

Heartland student William Hoffman said he enjoys helping the community. “I like to help whoever I can,” he said.

Hoffman and his classmates learn plumbing, electrical, and carpentry in their classroom. Their instructor, Jerry Buckely, used the greenhouse project to teach students how to frame doors and windows. “It covers a lot of different trades,” he said of the class. “We have three children who are looking to go to (the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers).”

The building elements of a greenhouse are an example of what they will do in the future.

“It was fun,” Hoffman said. “It took a lot of us to do it, but it’s done.”

Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR


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