Amid the din and dust that accompanies new home construction at Light Farms in Celina, a recently planted community garden is providing residents with a tranquil place to which they can escape.
A half-dozen raised planter boxes were built in the Sage subdivision by Light Farms developer Republic Property Group as an amenity for residents.
The master-planned community is “very social,” Community Manager Deborah Bowers said. “Our homeowners are out in their front yards, the kids are playing … and this is just another avenue for people to enjoy each other.”
About a month ago, Bowers sent an email to Light Farms residents in search of volunteers to help plant and tend to the garden.
Within an hour, she said, more than a dozen people had offered up their green thumbs for assistance.
The planters were “adopted” by several Light Farms subdivisions.
A “salsa garden,” complete with several varieties of pepper and tomato plants, is being tended to by residents of the Blue Stem neighborhood.
Carmen Garcia is one of them. She and her fiancé purchased their first home and moved in last fall, and they often stop by the garden in the afternoon, she said, to water the recently sprouted crops.
“I’ve never gardened, and this has inspired me to have my own garden,” Garcia said.
The community garden has prompted several other residents, including Judy Turner, to do the same.
She said she’d never had a garden before she and her husband purchased their home in the Sage subdivision last October.
“I was like, ‘I want to meet people,’” she said. And volunteering at the community garden “is a way to do it.”
The garden at Turner’s home features several of the same plants found in the community garden.
Before traveling recently, Turner said she asked fellow Sage resident Julie Diehl, who she met while working at the community garden, to water the plants at her home while she was away.
Diehl helped plant Sage’s garden box with her son, Jack, a seventh-grade student at Reynolds Middle School in Prosper.
It inspired them to plant vegetables at their house, she said.
“We didn’t really have the space in some of our previous backyards,” Diehl said, explaining that she wanted her son “to do something beyond his usual sports and activities.”
Also, “I wanted him to feel a sense of ownership in the neighborhood by participating in the neighborhood garden,” she said. He may craft signs this summer to help designate the subdivisions to which the planter boxes belong.
Similar to his neighbors, Josh Swink had limited gardening experience before he moved into his home in the Graham subdivision last year.
“I’ve always really loved gardening, but just really never had the atmosphere to do it in and never really had the time,” he said. “But this was the perfect time. They had it all set up. … It was a perfect opportunity.”
Swink is helping tend to Graham’s planter box, which features organic vegetables including collard greens, squash, lavender, okra, oregano and thyme.
“It’s a little zenful,” he said. “It’s a very peaceful experience to be here and just till this land and just fix it up and make it nice and actually produce something with your labor.”
When the plants are ready for harvest, Bowers said residents are welcome to “enjoy the fruits of their labor.”
As for the community’s Fall Festival later this year, she said, “I’d love for them to have a table selling their salsa or their tomatoes. That would be awesome.”