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Volunteers harvest produce, flowers at Braselton garden
Adults and children share workload at Nannie's Children's Garden
0628-NANNIE-1
Adult volunteers Joyce Royer and Mariela Gomez dig for potatoes at Nannie’s Children’s Garden in Braselton.

For more information about Nannie’s Children’s Garden, contact Dave Rusk at dhrusk@msn.com or call 678-316-5560.

BRASELTON — Nannie’s Children’s Garden is almost magical, rising from the ruins of a barn which long graced property in Braselton. Like a phoenix emerging from the ashes, each season’s plantings grow in the enhanced soil which is lovingly prepared.

Inside the foundation of a historic mule barn on the Henry Edward Braselton property adjacent to the Braselton-West Jackson Library, the original Nannie’s Children’s Garden began in honor of the late Ottis Blanche McDonald Braselton, mother of Henry Edward Braselton. Janice Braselton, his widow, gave her blessing to the vision Hall County Master Gardener Dave Rusk had for a community garden.

Now, youth study on the grounds to be junior master gardeners and adult volunteers put classroom lessons to work with the harvest being tasty and colorful rewards for all to enjoy.

Denise Gomez said she is inspired to be involved with the garden because she shares her mother’s love of nature. Her family has taken gardening lessons learned and put them into practice at home.

“She loves flowers and she says she has a green thumb,” Gomez said. “I like everything about the garden — flowers, vegetables and just being a part of nature.”

Mariela De Rio echoes her daughter’s sentiments.

“I love it,” she said. “I love nature and it’s exciting to dig the potatoes and pick the green beans.”

De Rio said working in the garden is relaxing, and time flies as she works and reaps the harvest of vegetables and flowers.

Young gardener Gracen Dutton experienced the garden with a recent visitor — a rabbit. She also harvested a huge zucchini.

Katelyn Dutton, another young participant, said she enjoys the sales aspect of the garden.

“I like selling things and meeting me people,” she said.

Selling flowers and vegetables, especially beans and potatoes, brings joy of sharing the bounty.

Adult volunteers, like De Rio, are welcomed to assist in the garden.

In the spring, students and volunteers are involved in seed germination, planting, weeding and watering. Twenty varieties of heirloom tomatoes, 13 varieties of peppers, yellow and zucchini squash, green beans, cucumbers, onions, potatoes and radishes were planted this season. Cut flowers will include oriental lilies, gladioli, sunflowers, liatris and calla lilies.

This summer, flowers are being cut and arranged and vegetables are being harvested and readied for sale by youngsters and adult volunteers.

On a recent day, Collier Williams, a granddaughter of Henry Edward and Janice Braselton, joined other budding gardeners to prepare for the sale. Funds raised from each Friday morning’s sale of the vegetables and flowers are used to purchase seeds and plants. Sales got underway June 7.

In addition the sale, funding for the community demonstration garden has been and is provided by grants and donations. Donations of resources are encouraged as well. The garden program and the Braselton Junior Master Gardener are sponsored by the Hall County Master Gardeners with the support of the Braselton-West Jackson Library and Keep Jackson County Beautiful.

Since its conception, the community demonstration garden has expanded to include more perennials, enhanced herb plantings, raised beds for strawberries and vegetables, compost bins and Mattie’s Walk, a flagstone walkway through the garden honoring Mattie Grace Sheppard.

A walking path to the library is mulched to invite visitors to take a short stroll and view the blooming garden. Trees have been added to the landscape and an irrigation system is in place to help keep the garden hydrated.

The garden has flourished and become a focal point of downtown Braselton. During the Braselton Beach Bash in May, the garden hosted an open house with tours being provided to visitors.

For more information about Nannie’s Children’s Garden, contact Dave Rusk at dhrusk@msn.com or call 678-316-5560.

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