The Dunwoody Community Garden has received an enthusiastic response to an invitation it extended to gardeners and community leaders to form an Orchard Planning Team.
The garden won a fruit orchard earlier this month in the second round of voting in an Edy's Fruit Bars national competition. The program, which is supported by Edy’s and the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, is awarding 17 fruit orchards to communities across the country as a way to beautify and strengthen communities and to encourage healthy eating habits.
The goal of the team will be to decide on an orchard layout and to select trees and shrubs for the orchard. A preliminary basic plan for the orchard, which will be planted at the Community Garden in Brook Run Park, can be seen on the Community Garden’s website.
The team will have its first meeting this week on Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Dunwoody Homeowners Association office in Dunwoody Village.
Some of the people who have volunteered for the team so far are Bill Grossman, president of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association, Gary Pfeiffer, a DeKalb County extension agent specializing in agriculture and natural resources, Connie Morelle, chair of the Dunwoody Sustainability Commission, Don Converse, president of the Community Garden, and numerous Master Gardeners and members of the Community Garden.
Anyone interested in serving on the team should contact Nicole Maslanka, the Garden Board Member who authored the orchard grant request and who is leading Orchard Planning Team. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The team has also received guidance from the Atlanta Fruits Message Board. Other orchard groups in the metro area have offered their services as well.
At this week’s meeting, Maslanka hopes to get ideas about what should be planted and the best locations to plant based on soil testing, topography of the garden, and what fruit trees and bushes are known to grow best in Georgia. Any questions raised at the meeting that can’t be decided among the group will be discussed with the Foundation's arborist, Rico Montenegro. Once the decision on an orchard layout a selection of trees and a date has been finalized, the team will seek broader community support to assist in planting the orchard.
Montenegro will be responsible for the acquisition of all plants and an irrigation system. He will be on-site to train volunteers and supervise the planting of the orchard.
The planning team will need to select a minimum of 20 fruit trees, Maslanka said. Montenegro has encouraged the team to select multiple types of fruit trees and different varietals within each group. He also encouraged the inclusion of native fruit trees as well, she said.
Several Georgia nurseries are on Montenegro’s list of plant sources. They include Johnson Ford Nursery in Ellijay, Ison's Nursery in Brooks and Aaron's Nursery in Sumner.
Apples, pears, plums, pomegranates, cherries and blueberries are some of the fruit trees and bushes being considered for the orchard, according to Maslanka. Community Garden Member Rod Pittman is particularly interested in establishing an area in the orchard to serve as a model for grafting techniques on apples that is practiced extensively in Germany.
The team will have to move fast because The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation wants to plant the orchard at the end of September. An exact planting date is still being worked out.
In other gardening news
The Dunwoody Green Market will celebrate its return to the Spruill Art Gallery this week with a $200 raffle for shoppers, according to Paula Guilbeau, market president.
The market operates on Wednesdays from 8 a.m. – noon from mid-April until just before Thanksgiving.
Other highlights for this week’s market will be a chef demo and blue grass music.
The market is leaving its home for the last three years in the parking lot of the Dunwoody Village Post Office because the agency needs the space for employee parking. The increased parking needs are due to the relocation of operations at the Shallowford Road postal facility to the Dunwoody office.
The impending move to Spruill has brought mixed reactions from shoppers, said Anne Bailey a Market Board member and owner of Annie Okra’s Barn. Some of the people who live near Dunwoody Village and have been able to walk to the market will now have to drive, she explained.
The Spruill Gallery is located at 4681 Ashford Dunwoody Road at the corner of Meadow Lane.