Growing Together

Haywood County Public Library’s Giving Garden:
Growing Together as a Community,
for the Community

Guest Post
Mannie Dalton Crone, Canton Branch Library Manager

A few members of the Giving Garden Team
A few members of the Giving Garden Team

The Giving Garden is a community project that fosters environmental stewardship and empowers folks to grow fresh food using sustainable gardening techniques. The garden was established in 2014 behind Haywood County Public Library’s Canton branch, and featured two vegetable and herb raised beds, two potato boxes, and a vertical garden made using a pallet. All harvested produce was donated to The Community Kitchen in Canton, and there were nine educational gardening programs offered to the public. Continuing with the education-oriented mission of the garden, this year, in addition to vegetables and herbs, the Giving Garden will include a Monarch butterfly garden. Monarch numbers are in extreme decline, primarily because their main food source, milkweed, has diminished. We will be doing our part to help the Monarchs by planting milkweed and nectar plants.

A joint initiative of the Haywood County Public Library, Haywood County Cooperative Extension Center, and the Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program, the Giving Garden is supported by the Haywood County Friends of the Library and the Haywood County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Association. Seeds for the garden are donated by Sow True Seed in Asheville, and the garden is maintained by the work of volunteers.

The Giving Garden currently has a core group of six Master Gardener volunteers who oversee the construction of the garden, the planning and planting of the garden, and many of whom teach gardening classes at the Canton Library. Because the garden relies on volunteers to be successful, we are always looking for new volunteer members! Last year, volunteers included folks of all ages, from toddlers with their grandparents, to members of a Girl Scout troop, to frequent library patrons. Whether you’ve never gardened before or you’re a Master Gardener, we could use your help! If you’re interested in volunteering, contact Canton Library’s Branch Manager Mannie Dalton Crone at for more information.

We have a wonderful, diverse lineup of gardening classes scheduled for this spring/summer, all taught by Master Gardeners or Extension Agents – and all free to attend (see below)! For more information on the Giving Garden and its programs, visit

The Giving Garden has increased the library’s community partners, brought people to the Canton branch who had never been before, provided opportunities for people of all ages to come together to both learn and work on a project for the greater good of the community.

 Join us!

Upcoming Giving Garden Programs:

All events are at the Canton Branch Library
unless otherwise noted.

2015 Planting Days:

May 13, 4 p.m. – Kids Planting Day

May 18 & June 1, 10 a.m. – Community Planting Days

Everyone is invited to help plant the Giving Garden and learn from the Master Gardeners!

2015 Events:

Thursday, March 26, 5:30 p.m. Gardening the Earth Box Way
Learn about gardening the Earth Box way, a gardening method that requires minimal space and effort, with Master Gardener Joe Smiley.

Thursday, April 9, 5:30 p.m. Planting With the Seasons
Learn what to plant each season and how to extend your garden’s production through the seasons with Master Gardener Hughes Roberts.

Tuesday, April 21, 5:30 p.m.  Square-Foot Gardening
Learn how to get a great yield from a small amount of space using Mel Bartholomew’s square-foot gardening method with Master Gardener Hughes Roberts.

Tuesday, July 21, 5:30 p.m.  Composting 101
Learn how to use kitchen scraps, leaves, and lawn waste to create “Gardener’s Gold” that will enrich your garden’s soil at this composting class with Master Gardener Mary Decker.

Tuesday, Aug. 18, 9:30 a.m.  Food Preservation Class
Learn how to can and preserve your harvest with Extension Agent Julie Sawyer. Location TBA.

Tuesday, Sept. 15, 5:30 p.m.  Bring Back the Monarchs
Learn about the plight of Monarch butterflies with Master Gardener Jean White. Plus, Master Gardener Marcia Tate will give a tour of the Giving Garden’s Monarch butterfly garden. There will be milkweed door prizes (milkweed is the only plant Monarch caterpillars will eat). To learn more about how to save the Monarchs, visit