The Baldwin City Demonstration Garden is tucked into a quiet corner of Baldwin’s busy downtown at the intersection of 8th Street and High Street in Tom Swan Park. Master Gardeners work to demonstrate how a wide variety of perennial and annual plants may be grown in a small, heavily used space. “Our focus is to provide a pleasant space for the community to enjoy,” said Master Gardener Carol Anderson.
The garden is situated next to the Lumberyard Arts Center. A combination of orange lilies, purple poppy mallow and phlox delivers an inviting combination along the front sidewalk.
A maple tree provides not only a climbing place for children, but also the shade necessary for hostas and other shade loving plants.
Master Gardeners choose plants that are attractive to pollinators. In addition to milkweeds and fennel that pollinators enjoy, Master Gardeners have also provided a small table and chairs for human visitors. “We are trying to make a habitat for pollinators and humans to hang out in,” said Anderson.
“People have lunch downtown and then tour the garden afterwards. The seating gives them a quiet place to visit,” said Master Gardener Marilyn Harnish. A beautiful tiger eye sumac tree and several boxwoods align the edge of the seating area and provide a natural border.
Adding to the charm of the garden are several whimsical touches. Hanging over the hostas is a fairy-themed basket.
An arbor built by Master Gardener Les Conder frames the main walkway, and stepping stones in the shape of leaves provide another pathway to the pollinator area.
When a red bud tree died, Conder turned it into a fairy house that was decorated by Master Gardener Kathy Bourgeois.
“At Christmas time, community members decorated the park and the garden shed as part of the Polar Express event,” said Harnish. A life-size metal deer sculpture greets visitors at the entrance to the Arts Center.
Named by the city of Baldwin for community leader Tom Swan, the garden is truly a community project. “We have individuals who are not Master Gardeners who volunteer in the garden, which we encourage,” said Master Gardener Helen Graettinger. “Other garden groups meet here, and we have a good working relationship with them,” explained Harnish.
The City of Baldwin provides the garden space, and is very responsive and helpful to the Master Gardeners. “City workers delivered mulch to us when we needed it, and then stayed to help us lay it down, “said Graettinger.
“It’s a space the entire community enjoys, and we encourage that,” said Anderson.
The garden is open year-round and visitors are always welcome.