Students use muscle to help gardeners

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The strength of young backs helped the Wilson County Extension Master Gardeners in the Wilson Botanical Gardens this week.

Students from the Beddingfield High School’s horticulture and horticulture landscaping classes rebuild and replace raised beds in the Heritage Garden.

“Young blood definitely helps the master gardeners,” said Cyndi Lauderdale, executive director of Wilson Botanical Gardens and the horticulture agent of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension office in Wilson County. “When they planted our native plant garden several years ago out in front of the Ag Center, I said that it took them two hours what would have taken us two weeks. So it’s nice to have that enthusiasm and young backs.”

It took student strength to move several elongated boxes made of heavy salt-treated lumber into place Tuesday.

“Beddingfield came out one day and got all of the wood cut and put all of the boxes together, and they came back today to put them back and make them level so we can get ready for our spring crops,” Lauderdale said.

The raised beds of the Heritage Garden had started to deteriorate and needed to be dug out and replaced.

“We either plant vegetables here or heritage crops,” Lauderdale said. “We have a lot of people who visit the gardens from the North and maybe don’t know what tobacco and sweet potatoes and cotton and things like that look like when they are traveling on our roads. So that is primarily what this garden is for. We put it in many years ago. This was one of our first gardens.”

“We are getting the kids involved and doing some community service work,” said Bryant Glover, horticulture teacher and FFA advisor. “We are learning how to construct raised beds. It kind of goes along with our curriculum. They can see how other people are growing in the community. They are still getting to be involved in the process of growing and knowing different things about growing plants.”

Omni Gaylord, a senior, said the opportunity gave her agricultural experience.

“It will help later on in like if we want to do something with agriculture,” Omni said.

“I’m coming out here helping them build and helping them make it look pretty,” said senior Kristin OBriant.

Lauderdale said horticultural programs at Beddingfield and Hunt high schools have supported the gardens with volunteer help.

“We are blessed here in Wilson County to have two high schools that have two horticulture programs,” Lauderdale said. “It looks like this is something that really enhances their learning, and they will be doing this on a more often basis.”