CLAYTON — The Mosaic Community Garden on Main Street is now handicap accessible, thanks to 22 BB&T employees.
The improvements to the garden, now in full bloom with vegetables and flowers, are largely unnoticeable, because most of the handiwork is underground. The BB&T team installed a grid system beneath the gardens gravel pathways to make them more stable for wheelchairs and strollers.
We wanted to give our time to improving the garden because it has become a central meeting point for community residents, said BB&T employee Dave Pond, one of the volunteers who lives in Clayton.
Because all of our work was done underneath the gravel, its completely unnoticeable to the average visitor, but it brings a strength and stability that wasnt there before, he said.
Clayton resident Tom Lipscomb started the garden in March 2012. His goal was to build community through sustainable gardening. He estimates that 1,000 people have visited the garden in the past year.
We wanted to give nutritious food to people who couldnt afford it, Lipscomb said.
Residents adopt a bed in the garden and grow food that they give away. Some people grow flowers that they deliver to nursing homes.
Anyone from an amateur gardener to someone with a green thumb is welcome to adopt a bed, as Lipscomb hopes it will be a place where people can learn together.
We also offer to build beds like these at peoples houses once they have adopted one here, because we want to empower them and let them keep up gardening at home, Lipscomb said.
The BB&T employees came in two shifts, one team from 8 a.m. to noon and another from 1 to 5 p.m. The team won a $3,300 grant from BB&T to to buy supplies for the garden.
In addition to installing the grid work and spreading a layer of gravel on top of it, the BB&T employees provided compost, put in two umbrellas and installed solar-powered lights. With the grant, they also bought a tiller. Until now, the gardeners have been doing all of the work by hand.
Finally, the bank volunteers applied a protective coating to the cedar arbor, pulled weeds and removed old flowers, making space for new ones to grow.
The space, now bursting with produce, has a spiritual aspect, with a bench for sitting and a place for meditation. This summer, the garden is home to a childrens Bible school.
Before it became a garden, the space was a used-car lot. Now it has several environmentally sustainable aspects, including barrels used to catch rainwater. Gardeners use the water from the barrels, instead of water from a hose, to water their plants. By doing so, Lipscomb said, they readily see how valuable water is.
The garden boasts a variety of vegetables, from tomatoes to sweet potatoes, as well as some herbs.
Id love to see my town become a community garden town, Lipscomb said.
BB&T holds its Lighthouse Project each May and June. Employees devote a day to community service with a project the team votes on.