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WYLDE CENTER 435 Oakview Road, Decatur, GA 30030 404.371.1920,

MEMBERSHIP Growing Circle pages 4 and 5

HOURS Wylde Center is open Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm. Garden sites are open daily from sun up to sun down.


MAGAZINE AND PHOTO CONTRIBUTORS Caroline Branch, Jason Bromwell, David Callihan, Melanie Heckman, JC Hines, Nichole Lupo, Véronique Perrot, McKenzie Rhone, Nate Scully, Dara Suchke, Bang Tran, Stephanie Van Parys, Mohamed Yssuf, and Andrea Zoppo

Save your Seeds page 7 DECATUR FARM TO SCHOOL DF2S Summer 2013 Interns pages 8 and 9 PROGRAM OUTREACH Urban Farm Camp pages 10 and 11 WYLDE CENTER CERTIFICATION PROGRAM page 12 CLASS SCHEDULE Animals, Gardening, and Children Programs pages 13-19 KID’S PAGE Picture it! page 20 MEMBERSHIP ROLL Gifts received April 1 thru June 30, 2013 page 21 GARDENING Bagged Leaves for your Garden page 21 VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT Lauren Harper page 22 IN SEASON Nichole Lupo’s Sweet Potato Apple Soup page 23 GARDENING Q&A with JC page 23 Seeds, Defined pages 24 and 25 Rob Hamilton on Fruit pages 26 and 27

Dear Members, Ten years ago, Sally Wylde asked me if I would be interested in serving on the Oakhurst Community Garden Project’s Board of Directors. I said “sure.” Nine years ago, she asked if I would be interested in serving as the Executive Director allowing her to retire. After thinking it through, I said “yes.” So glad I did, because what fun this ride has been! So much has changed over the last ten years. Our gardens have grown from one to four gardens. Our staff has grown from two to ten people. Our field trips have grown from a few to being sold out each spring and fall. Our time in the City Schools of Decatur has grown from a few days each month to four out of five days. We have added regular programming in the Edgewood neighborhood, as well. Our membership base has grown from 250 people to over 600. We changed our organization’s name (remember, the Oakhurst Garden is still called the Oakhurst Garden!). How have we been able to sustain this growth? You! Every year when you support us with a membership, we are able to grow. I hope that this year when donating to the Wylde Center, you will stretch your gift to a Growing Circle giving level. Over the last three years, we have seen this giving program grow by 62% Read more on page 4. Happy fall! Stephanie Van Parys, Executive Director

BELOW: Ames True Temper donates tools to the Wylde Center.

THE WC’S MEMBER MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED QUARTERLY. FRONT COVER AND PAGE 3 Okra in bloom at the Sugar Creek Garden. Eggplant at the Oakhurst Garden. PURCHASE AN AD For advertising rates, please visit our website or call 404.371.1920 for more information. BOARD OF DIRECTORS Joy Provost, Chair Patrick Foster, Past Chair Jennifer Weissman, Vice-Chair Meg Boswell, Treasurer Kristin Allin, Secretary Caroline Branch, Eryn Emerich, Brent Holt, Judy Knight, Lylia Lucio, Aaron Marks, Walt McMann, Jessica Reece, Sandy Rice, and Kathryn Young GARDEN COACH/HAWK HOLLOW GARDEN SITE COORDINATOR Amy Foster GREENSPACE MANAGER AND OAKHURST GARDEN SITE COORDINATOR JC Hines EDUCATION PROGRAM MANAGER Melanie Heckman EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT Reagan Horack Koski GARDEN TO CLASSROOM EDUCATOR Nichole Lupo EDGEWOOD COMMUNITY LEARNING GARDEN SITE COORDINATOR Monica Ponce SUGAR CREEK GARDEN SITE COORDINATOR Dara Suchke EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Stephanie Van Parys SPECIAL EVENT COORDINATOR Sarah Werkheiser PUBLIC PROGRAMS MANAGER AND VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR Andrea Zoppo INTERNS Nina Brooks, Cassandra Gonzales, Cate Hughes, Lulu Lacy, Véronique Perrot, Olivia Stockert, Bang Tran, Leslie Tunmore, and Tim Watts COPYRIGHT 2013 WYLDE CENTER INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FOR INFORMATION CONCERNING REPRINTING OF CONTENT, CONTACT 404.371.1920.


QUOTE OF THE DAY “Wylde Center is like the Queen Mother of Gardening Programs” - Casey Green of Springbrook Park in North Decatur


ABOVE: Summer camp participants with their fresh beets pulled from the Edgewood Community Learning Garden vegetable plots.

YOU ARE INVITED TO GROW A GREENER FUTURE AS A GROWING CIRCLE MEMBER “In setting priorities for donating money, I focus on groups supporting nature, especially gardens and trees. I became a Growing Circle member because I’ve seen how the Wylde Center serves the greater community in so many ways including garden classes and educational programs for all ages. Every donated dollar’s effect is multiplied exponentially by developing new and future gardens and increasing the public’s awareness of the importance of caring for our earth.” - Pat Gipson, Growing Circle Member

In the 16 years since its founding by Sally Wylde, the Wylde Center has grown in size, scope and impact—impact that would not have been possible without your support. Your support has increased access to greenspace and continues to create working gardens to cultivate community and environmental education. Today we are inviting you to become a Growing Circle member and increase your current level of giving. What is Growing Circle? Join at the Growing Circle level and enjoy exclusive access to the Wylde Center’s programs and events. Growing Circle connects individuals who share an appreciation for cultivating community greenspaces and a personal commitment to environmental education and enjoyment for all ages. Your contribution of $500 or more as a member of the Growing Circle sustains the Wylde Center’s acclaimed work, supports new initiatives, and allows the Wylde Center to expand its environmental access and educational programs into new communities. How will my Growing Circle gift support the Wylde Center's programs? Your gift is a powerful tool to maintain current programs as well as establish new activities and increased access for communities throughout the metro Atlanta area. Your gift will provide • curriculum supplies for the education gardens. • garden-based education at metro-Atlanta schools, including Decatur. • technical garden expertise to a community garden, church, or school. • broader opportunities for people across metro Atlanta to gather at one of our four green spaces to celebrate a greener future. For more information about the Growing Circle membership program, contact Stephanie Van Parys,, (678) 642-4977 or (404) 371-1920,



INTERVIEW WITH CAROLINE BRANCH, WHY I GIVE: AN GROWING CIRCLE AND BOARD MEMBER SVP: What does Growing Circle mean to you? CB: I’m moved primarily by two things: i) the passion and long-hours of commitment I see in Wylde’s staff and ii) the expansion of Wylde’s accessibility to farm to school education to more and more people in the metro Atlanta area. Wylde counts on Growing Circle memberships as an important stream of income to support the daily expenses of maintaining their amazing people (staff that are seasoned and experienced) and spaces, Caroline Branch and her family. and can also budget for programming expansions like field trips for Atlanta Public School students. SVP: What inspired you to increase your gift from a basic family membership at $50 to a Growing Circle membership? CB: What I first loved about Wylde was how the Oakhurst Garden offered a welcoming, safe space for my children to just hang out in a varied natural environment – vegetable gardens, stands of trees, chickens, a little creek. On the academic side, all of my children have benefited from the outdoor classrooms at Wylde and at their own schools – is there anything cooler than a three-year-old describing the life cycle of a plant? My family is also into art and community gatherings, so over the years we’ve taken classes on everything from herb-scented eye-pillow making to glass crafting and we’ve attended fun, free gatherings like S’mores 4 All and Earth Day. You can do all of this (with discounted classes!) as family members. But the more time I spent at Wylde, the more excited I became about its vision of active greenspaces nestled throughout metro Atlanta. Did you know Wylde now has four greenspaces up and running? I wanted more families to have the opportunity to be outside and discover whatever resonated with them about the natural world. I saw what Wylde meant to my family and I wanted more of it, for more people. So I checked the Growing Circle box! SVP: How does your Growing Circle gift fit into your family budget? CB: I appreciate that I can spread my payments out over 12 months if that works best. Membership at the $500 level breaks down to $46 per month and the $1,000 level gift works out to $83 per month, and so on. This helps me figure out what is manageable for our family. SVP: You also serve as a Wylde Center board member. Have you seen an increase in participation in the Growing Circle program? CB: Yes, since we started this program in 2010, we have seen the number of participants grow by 62%, resulting in the increase of Growing Circle donations from $1,000 to $5,000. We are thrilled as this increased participation shows a groundswell of support and investing in our programs. SVP: Benefits offered at the Growing Circle level gives you a chance to be more involved with the Wylde Center. What benefits appeal to you and your family? CB: I’m not going to sugar-coat it; I like free stuff! We’ve added some benefits like a familyfriendly cocktail party at Sugar Creek and VIP tickets to our fabulous Beer Garden party. I’m really looking forward to getting to know other Growing Circle members at these events. I also like hearing about Wylde’s programs and plans directly from staff at the State of the Garden event and other gatherings. The Wylde Center board and staff views Growing Circle members as its partners, so as a Growing Circle member you have access to lots of details about where Wylde is headed and you’ll have an opportunity to share your thoughts as well. SVP: Does the Wylde Center need more members participating as Growing Circle members? CB: Yes, yes, yes. We’ve relied on those who have supported us as Growing Circle members the past three years, and we feel we must increase this circle of committed Wylde supporters in order to sustain the high quality of our current programs and support future growth. Our fall 2013 Growing Circle giving goal is $38,500. We can get there with the gifts from new Growing Circle members at the $500, $1,000, $2,500, and $5,000 gift levels. If you’ve found yourself getting more interested in Wylde lately, joining the Growing Circle could be really fun and meaningful for you and your family. That’s certainly been my experience! SVP: Thank you, Caroline. Anything else you would like to share with our readers? CB: We invite you to Grow Wylde with us!

“I saw what Wylde meant to my family and I wanted more of it, for more people. So I checked the Growing Circle box!” - Caroline Branch

GROWING CIRCLE BENEFITS With a gift at $5,000, you will • Receive direct access to the Wylde Center Team for gardening and horticulture education • Receive four VIP tickets to the Beer Garden event with exclusive cocktail hour preceding the event • Plus all benefits listed below With a gift at $2,500, you will • Receive an opportunity to invite two guests or a family to the Cocktails at Sugar Creek event • Receive four tickets to your choice of: Decatur Garden Tour* or Urban Co-op Tour* • Plus all benefits listed below With a gift at $1,000, you will • Receive two VIP tickets to the Beer Garden event with exclusive cocktail hour preceding the event • Receive a private tour of one of the gardens managed by the Wylde Center with the Executive Director and Greenspace Manager • Receive a special invitation to the State of the Wylde Center Address • Plus all benefits listed below With a gift at $500, you will • Receive discounts on Growings On Classes, Event Rentals, and Birthday Party Rentals • Receive one Class Voucher (restrictions apply) for a class of your choice • Receive an invitation to attend exclusive events such as the Plant Sale Preview*, Cocktails at Sugar Creek*, and State of the Wylde Center Address • Receive our quarterly magazine which is full of program highlights and garden articles • Receive two tickets to your choice of the Decatur Garden Tour* or Urban Coop Tour* *family friendly events







n August 24, the Wylde Center opened the Oakhurst Garden to the community for Heifer International’s first Gifts in the Garden event. The event combined educational booths and activities with live animals to teach attendees the important role of livestock and environmental sustainability in helping the world’s poor become self-reliant. Three to four hundred men, women and children from all over Atlanta came out to get educated and have fun. Community groups that support Heifer International pitched in to provide a fun and engaging experience for attendees, including the Wylde Center, Oglethorpe University, the Galloway School, Oak Grove UMC, and Alpha Kappa Alpha-Phi Phi Omega Chapter. And many local schools provided decorations. Photo credit: Jason Bromwell, Cliq Imaging Photography,

Photo credit: S.Van Parys


TOP ROW: Heifer volunteers blow bubbles while an attendee plays “Duck Tales”– a matching game that teaches how ducks can help people in need. Feeding the Heifer cow is fun for this local cowboy. Looking for an activity? There is plenty going on at this event. SECOND ROW: A full gallon of water weighs 8 lbs. Two boys get an idea of what muscle it takes to transport water by hand from source to home in developing countries. THIRD ROW: Andrea Zoppo paints many faces during the event. Crickets Petting Zoo brought a menagerie of animals for children to pet. Oak Grove UMC volunteers share the benefits of llamas and alpacas with children. FOURTH ROW: Route 41 was one of three bands that entertained the crowd. Pin the tail on the cow game added a little fun and laughter to learning about the many benefits of cows in sustainable development.






n August 3, the Wylde Center and Slow Food Atlanta hosted a seed-saving event with more than 50 people attending. TOP ROW. Rob Hamilton shares information about Slow Food’s Ark of Taste, an effort to maintain biodiversity in the global food market and how saving seeds plays into that program. Before the education sessions, attendees enjoyed a diverse selection of homegrown tomatoes plus goat cheese and biscuits with tomato jelly. Yum! SECOND ROW: Seeds are available to take home. Frank Holzman shares tips on how to save seeds. THIRD ROW: This is what lettuce looks like when it bolts, is allowed to flower and eventually becomes dry seed heads. In the middle is a dried dill flower head. Véronique Perrot speaking with interested seed savers. She shared the biology behind seed saving. SAVE THE DATE: Join us Saturday, January 25, 2014, for our Annual Seed Swap at the Decatur Recreation Center.





his summer marked the second year of Decatur Farm to School’s Summer Internship Grant Program. This past spring, Decatur High School students were invited to apply for the program. Three grant recipients were selected to work at local farms, restaurants, and farmers markets to learn more about the Farm to Table movement. Through the program, these three students learned what it takes to produce, procure, and prepare fresh foods. In the following pages, you can read about them, their experiences, and the insights they have gained. Thank you to all of our DF2S Internship Grant partners: Sugar Creek Garden, Love is Love Farm, Global Growers Network, Farm Burger, Leon’s Full Service and Brick Store Pub, and the Farmers Market Consortium.

LEARNING TO GROW FOOD TO TEACH OTHERS by Mohamed Yussuf Decatur High School Junior


ith this summer’s Decatur Farm to School Internship, I worked with Global Growers Network and with the Farmers Market Consortium to grow and sell fresh produce. I have always liked gardening and farming, and this internship was a huge opportunity to learn about both of these. I was surprised and grateful to get this internship and have learned so much. Every day of this internship was like going on an adventure because I always got to explore something big and new. Before this internship,

I only knew how to plant and grow flowers. I started out knowing just this one thing, but now I know much more about gardening, farming, and marketing. I learned how to grow fresh fruits and vegetables at Bamboo Creek Farm. I learned how to pull up weeds that would keep other plants from growing. I watered plants and harvested ripe produce. I learned how to wash it clean and package it to take to market. I had fun working on the farm even when it was hot outside. In fact, one of the biggest disappointments of the internship was that I only got to work at the farm once a week. I had so much fun and wished I could work there more often. We took our produce from the farm to the Decatur Farmers Market to sell. I wanted to learn as much as possible, so I asked many questions, like “What is this plant called?” and “How do you grow this?” Karen, who ran the booth, taught me the names of vegetables so I could learn and sell them. Working at the market was my biggest success of this internship, selling our produce to people and having them buy it. I learned that as a seller, you have to go to the market regularly and know what you are selling as you treat customers with gratitude and respect. This internship taught me more than just how to grow and sell vegetables. It was my first job, so I learned to be a responsible worker. Now that it’s over, I miss working at the garden and market because I got to experience new things and meet new friends. I learned it takes a lot of time and effort to produce food: you have to plant the seeds, water them a lot, weed them a lot, and harvest. It takes a lot of effort and patience because they don’t grow quickly, and you have to give a lot of time to whatever you grow. However, as a customer, you also want to buy something that is worth it and beneficial to eat. Lastly, I wanted this internship so I could teach my community what I learned. Now I want to teach my family and community how to grow simple, seasonal fruits and vegetables like strawberries - this summer I even taught my family how to grow cucumbers. I wish everyone that comes after me could have this same opportunity to learn, garden, market, and teach.


Mohamed Yussuf selling hot peppers from Bamboo Creek Farm at the Decatur Farmers Market.


FROM SEED TO PLATE by McKenzie Rhone Decatur High School Junior


n a final walk around Love is Love Farm during the last day of my internship, I was at a loss for how to summarize and explain everything I learned and the amazing people I had met. Then, another intern commenting on diminishing bee populations said, “Well, that goes to show how removed people are from the process.” Her words resonated with me, capturing perfectly my prior mindset, recent experiences, and new knowledge. Before my internship, I viewed and treated food like most people do. I have complained about unripe strawberries at Kroger in the middle of winter, with no consideration for the time, sweat, and labor that a farmer had put into providing my produce. I have eaten at restaurants and at home with no thought to where the food came from and how many people had worked to get it to me. I simply was “removed from the process.” During my time at Leon’s and Love is Love, however, I was submerged in the full process of organic and local food production, preparation, and marketing. At Leon’s, I learned about the tremendous amount of preparation and consideration that goes into creating fresh and locally grown meals. I helped cut up okra, learned about food items I had never heard of before, helped bus tables, and restocked shelves. By the end of my two weeks there, I understood how working cooperatively and paying attention to small details impacts the restaurant experience for both customers and staff.

Most importantly, I witnessed the entire cycle of seeding, growing, picking, selling, preparing, serving, and composting. I prepped and tasted vegetables at Leon’s that I had picked and washed at Love is Love. I saw our hard work at Love is Love pay off when at the farmers market I handed every customer their produce with a feeling of great satisfaction. I even enjoyed shoveling smelly compost and discovering 300 lemons that I juiced behind the bar at Leon’s only two weeks prior. The most valuable thing I received from my internship was awareness. By the end of the summer, I was no longer ignorant about where my food came from or the passion driving the people who grew it. I listened to stories of why chefs became chefs and why farmers and volunteers spent hours in the sun each week, and I left with a greater appreciation for the food I eat daily. I witnessed a community of volunteers, interns, CSA members, customers, and staff work together to support the production and use of organic produce. I popped sungold tomatoes into my mouth and tasted not only the flavor, but also the millions of stories behind all the people who participated in its growth. I leave my internship with advice for others: Go to a community market. Volunteer at a local farm for a few days. Plant your own garden and see what it takes to grow one crop. It won’t always be easy and fun, but the payback is always rewarding.

GOOD FOOD IS A LOT OF WORK by Nate Scully Decatur High School Junior


hen I first heard of Decatur Farm to School, I was intrigued by the farming aspect of their internships. As a young student at the Waldorf School, I took gardening classes, cared for chickens, and did many other farm-related projects. I had looked at a summer internship with a Community Supported Agriculture program in Virginia, but seeing the opportunity right here in Decatur inspired me to apply to help out my own community. I was therefore thrilled when I was chosen as one of the grantees for DF2S. This internship was my first real introduction to what it takes to be a farmer as I seriously consider that career path. I now know what it is to work a six-hour day in the sun, pulling weeds and digging in the mud. I also realized how hard it is to grow the foods we take for granted as we purchase them at grocery stores and restaurants. At Sugar Creek it took tremendous effort to grow potatoes the size of golf balls. At Farm Burger, however, I cut up potatoes the size of papayas and pondered what was required to grow and harvest thousands of these huge tubers without any rot or pest damage.

food was produced for volunteers to take a little home – not nearly enough to feed a high school of hungry students for one lunch period, not to mention a whole week, or even a school year. Now, going back to school, I realize how important the mission of the DF2S is. I often bring my lunch, but many students get their main nutrition from the school cafeteria. Everyone deserves fresh, nutritious food. Our cafeteria needs DF2S and DF2S needs commitment from our community. We just need people to stop by and give a few hours a week. To be honest, it’s fun! I encourage everyone to get outside, and get some dirt under your fingernails. If we work together, we can all make a big difference. Nate Scully with the tomatoes at Sugar Creek Garden.

The most enjoyable part of the internship was the satisfaction at the end of a long day of hard work. One day, Dara Suchke (SCG manager) and I struggled to get the water tank pump working. It was only after five hours of intense problem solving that we finally got it to work. I was able to drain the stagnant water from the tank and hook it up to finish the irrigation system we had worked so hard on. Success! One aspect of the internship I was surprised to enjoy was writing this very article. I have never liked writing because there are few opportunities to write about the areas I am most interested in. This article allowed me to enjoy writing about something I am genuinely passionate about and share it with all of you. After working in the garden and restaurant, I realized how tough the mission of DF2S is and how challenging it is to get fresh food into the City of Decatur school cafeterias. At Sugar Creek, only enough



ABOVE: Skyla Pavlin (7) with a fresh egg from the chickens.

ABOVE: Ke’Ajia Elliot (9) harvesting her first beet.


by Melanie Heckman Education Program Manager


t 10:30 a.m. on a warm summer day in Edgewood, eight children were clustered around a garden bed full of root vegetables. Eleven-year-old Isaac reached down, firmly grasped the top of one of the roots, and gently pulled from the dirt a beet nearly as big as his hand. His fellow campers -- who were also harvesting beets for the first time -- were delighted with Isaac’s success, and eager to try their own hand at beet pulling. It was just the beginning of a typical day of Urban Farm Camp.

Environment, and Garden Celebration captured campers’ attention throughout the week. Every day featured a craft, which ranged from painting flower pots to making bee goggles and antennae. Kids clamored for educational games during the week, and asked to play them over and over. Games like Free Range, Pollination Power, Plant Part Relay, Worm Buffet, and more taught participants about the plants, animals, and ecology of the garden while they were running, playing, and laughing.

The Wylde Center hosted its inaugural Urban Farm Camp at Edgewood Community Learning Garden this summer. Nearly two dozen kids aged five to eleven attended this brand new day camp, which is the Wylde Center’s newest Youth Education Program. Over half of the students received need-based scholarships that enabled them to attend camp and have fun learning in the garden. Campers came from Decatur, Edgewood, Kirkwood, and East Lake to the garden, where they made new friends from vastly different neighborhoods. Enthusiastic, garden-trained counselors enjoyed connecting with the kids, leading activities with them, and having a great time.

Scavenger hunts helped campers discover the plants in the garden, while digging for worms let them get up close and personal with one of the garden’s top residents. Turning compost, exploring beekeeping equipment, and harvesting fruits and vegetables then gave them a taste of what it’s like to be a farmer. Whatever the topic and activity, campers were consistently enthusiastic about all they learned and all the fun they had.

The camp showcased how much fun kids can have while learning. With a different theme each day, learning in the garden was always new, exciting, and very hands-on. Chickens, Gardening, Bees,


With such high success of this year’s program, we are looking forward to hosting more Urban Farm Camps in the summers to come. Keep your eyes peeled and ears open for more information about upcoming camps and youth programs at the Wylde Center! Check out the kids’ page for a story written by our very own DeJuan Green (7), a camper from Session 2!



WAS CAMP FUN? “My favorite thing was picking beets because we got to wash and cook with them.” “I loved playing the games!” “I found a worm. It wiggled on me!” “Fun camp to play and get good experience for my kids.” “I asked [my daughters], and they yelled out, ‘Everything!’”

Clockwise fromt top left: Isaac, Ke’Ajia, Jeremiah, and Laney with the beets they harvested at summer camp. Luminous Kim (4) investigating the strawberries. Jakayla Arnold (7) and Skyla Pavlin (7) making friends with the worms. Deanna Cullins (9) learning how to peel a carrot. Session 2 campers getting up close and personal with compost.


ABOVE: Jeremiah Thomas (7) shows off his beetpink hands after helping grate the beets for salad.

Every day, campers harvested fruits, veggies, and herbs from the Edgewood Community Learning Garden to make a tasty snack. By harvesting, they learned first-hand where their food comes from and all about plant parts. Back in the kitchen, they learned how to wash, cut, peel, grate and more – they even learned how to make their own whipped cream to go with the strawberries they picked!

Nichole’s Beet and Apple Salad

One of our favorite recipes from camp was Nichole’s Beet and Apple Salad. This is a tasty and easy recipe that kids can make -just like our campers did. Most of our campers liked this delicious salad, even though they had never liked or tried beets before!

Wash the beets and apples well. Juice the lemon and set the juice aside. Peel the beets, then grate them. Put them into a larger mixing bowl. Grate the apples, then add them to the beets. Add the honey, lemon juice, and a dash of salt. Mix well, and enjoy!

Yields 6 servings Ingredients: 2 medium beets

2 small, crisp apples (one tart, one sweet) 1 lemon 1 tsp honey Salt






he Wylde Center Staff and Educators are proud to offer a path and curriculum to become a confident and educated food focused gardener in the Piedmont region of Georgia. Participants may work at their own pace; classes begin January 2014. Core classes will be offered twice a year and all classes are open to the public. Certification Requirements: Over the course of 1 year complete: 7 core classes, 3 electives, and 30 hours of hands on training at a Wylde Center garden site with the completion of an onsite project. Program also includes a 1 year membership ($50 value) and year round support from our staff. Registration: Opens October 15 and ends December 1 Program tuition: $350; may be paid in 2 installments Enrollment: We will accept up to 10 people for 2014. Applicants must be over 18, submit a cover letter and online form. No previous experience neccesary. Mandatory orientation is January 16, 7 pm.

Photo Credit: David Callihan

Core Classes

Garden Sites

• • • • • • •

• Edgewood Community Learning Garden with Monica Ponce • Oakhurst Garden with JC Hines • Oakhurst Garden with Stephanie Van Parys and Véronique Perrot • Sugar Creek Garden with Dara Suchke

Soils and Fertility 101 Soils and Fertility 102 The Basics of Seed Sowing How not to Water your Garden Garden Bed Building Pest and Disease Management Seasonal Edible Planting and Maintenance

Sample of Electives

Program Developers and Educators

• • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • •

Animal Husbandry Beneficial Bugs Composting Container Gardening/ Patio Production Edible Garden Design Harvesting and Preserving Perennial Care and Pruning Plant ID Small Scale Fruit Production

Anne-Marie Anderson JC Hines Mary Hines Michael McLane Véronique Perrot Monica Ponce Dara Suchke Stephanie Van Parys Andrea Zoppo

For more info visit or contact 12




What is Growings On?

Growings On is the name of our class series that focuses on sustainable life skills such as animal husbandry, gardening, cooking, and art. Brought to you by a talented group of teachers; you will have a great time adding new skills to your life.

As a Wylde Center member, do I receive discounts on classes?

Yes, you do! As a thank you for supporting the Wylde Center, formerly the Oakhurst Community Garden Project, we hope you will take advantage of the discounts we offer on classes, event rentals, and birthday parties.

How do I register?

a. Register online at and click on classes b. Email for assistance or questions about classes. c. You may mail check a week or more in advance to 435 Oakview Road, Decatur, GA 30030. Attention Andrea Zoppo with name of classes, email and phone number. Make your check out to Wylde Center.

Who may take classes?

Everyone! We offer classes for ages 2 up to 102!


Coloring fun at the Oakhurst Garden! Chloe Pink visits the Wylde Center in person with her new coloring book.

Wylde Center class instructor, Michael McLane teaches Renfroe Middle School students how to build composting bins using worms.

Always a popular topic, the fermenting vegetables class was sold out. Students turned raw ingredients into delicious and healthy “krauts.�

Jennifer Weissman and Jerilynn Bedingfield, two of the Simply Delicious instructors, prepare for their Simply Delicious free open house.

JC Hines, the Greenspace Manager, shows children participating in the Kids in the Coop class what it takes to be a caretaker of chickens.

Kurt Straudt with Southeast Succulents regularly teaches classes at the Wylde Center. In this class, students create a living frame with succulents.



GROWINGS ON Community L earning Series for A dults, Youth & Children

Urban Beekeeping 101 with Truly Living Well Saturday, October 12, 12-2pm $25 Wylde Center Members and Old Fourth Ward residents , $30 general public. Location: Wheat Street Garden of Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture, 75 Hilliard St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30312. Join Truly Living Well’s Bee Maestro BJ Glick as he walks new hive keepers and eager wanna-bees through the basics of establishing and maintaining a healthy hive. Head off neophyte beekeeping mistakes with tips from our experienced bee expert. Learn what you can do to keep your urban hive healthy and thriving in a world that threatens our busy, beloved pollinators. Rain Date is Oct. 19, 12-2pm. Free parking is available on site at the Hilliard Street entrance. 7 person minimum. Max 15

Chickens are Easy! Intro to Keeping Chickens Saturday, October 19, 10:30-12:30pm $15 Wylde Center member, $20 non member Join The Celtic Gardener, Anne-Marie Anderson, for our popular chicken crash course. This class will cover the basics of coop design, relevant ordinances, breed selection, care and feeding and outside resources. Anne-Marie is a local keeper of an “urban flock," Chair of the October 5 & 6 Urban Coop Tour, and enjoys spreading the word about sustainable gardening and urban farming. The last 30 min of the class is Q&A. Reserve your spot today!

Principles of Permaculture; Work Where is Counts Saturday, October 12, 1-3pm Location: Oakhurst Garden 435 Oakview Rd. Decatur, GA 30030 $15 Wylde Center Member, $20 Non Member Join Garden Designer Brandy Hall and explore the ethics, attitudes, and principles of a growing movement called Permaculture in this intensive 2 hr class. Permaculture is an approach to designing our settlements and agricultural systems that is modeled on the relationships found in nature. Brandy Hall passionately engages communities through education, design, and installation of food forests and perennial farms and gardens through her small ecological design firm, Shades of Green at 5 person minimum.

GARDENING NATURE & URBAN FARMING Living Well: Raised Bed Abundance. An intro to Urban Farming Sunday, October 13, 2-4pm $15 Wylde Center Members and Old Fourth Ward residents , $20 general public. Location: Wheat Street Garden of Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture, 75 Hilliard St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30312. Join Truly Living Well’s educator and urban agriculturalist Sumayya Allen to learn the tips and tricks to growing beautiful nutritious food in raised beds in an urban landscape. Learn how to convert your urban space and traditional landscaping into an abundant raised bed garden. Investigate the importance of “good dirt,” lunar planting cycles, and other essential information to making your city garden a successful garden. Rain date is Sunday October 20, 2-4pm Free parking is available on site at the Hilliard Street entrance. 7 person minimum.


Intro to Beekeeping Saturday, November 9 , 2-4pm $25 Wylde Center member, $30 non-members Join our Bee Team Leader, Cassandra Lawson, and she will share her knowledge on bee-ing a beekeeper. Learn the basics: Best location to set up a hive, when to order bees and from whom, where do you find your materials. Talk about must have tools. This class is suited for beginner beekeepers and curious bee lovers. Cassandra will share wisdom to save you money, keep happy productive bees, and stay safe. Check out

Make Your Own Succulent Terrarium Wednesday, October 16, 7-8:30pm $35 Wylde Center Members, $40 Non Members Faerie Homes, dinosaur worlds, ancient lands, or just beautiful spaces can be made in a terrarium. Join Kurt Straudt of and create your own miniature world behind glass with succulents! Learn what succulents work best, how to water and care for and afterwards be able to create your own. Join the fun with terrariums! Everything is provided for this class. This class is suitable for adult/child teams.

Fall is for Fruit! Trees, Shrubs and Vines Saturday October 19, 1-3pm $15 Wylde Center Member, $20 non-member Tis the season of to plant your fruits. Join garden coach Daniel Ballard of to learn the basics about fruit planting and the suitable fruits for the home and community orchard. Daniel will provide instruction on site evaluation, planting technique, tree care, and more. This is a hands-on class and you will participate in planting.. Daniel also brings his experience as an accredited organic land care professional and a landscape/garden coach with his firm, Edible Yard and Garden. Handouts provided.

5 PERSON MINIMUM AND ADVANCED REGISTRATION REQUIRED AT WYLDECENTER.ORG Lay your Garden to a Productive Rest: Winter Cover Crops and Green Manures (seeds included) Sunday October 20th 2-4pm $20 Wylde Center Member, $25 non-members Join local Homesteader Joey Zeigler of to learn about winterizing your vegetable garden with the use of hearty winter cover crops and green manures. Discover the great advantages of using cover crops in the off season such as improved soil health, place holding for the spring crops, early spring foraging for honey bees, improved winter garden aesthetics and more. This class will include cover crop seeds for your own garden. Come build healthy soil with us the sustainable way! Joey Zeigler operates a local business that helps folks setup food systems in their backyard, including: chicken keeping, coop building, garden coaching, orcharding, passive and active water systems and many more homesteading efforts. Joey has participated in the 2012 Urban Coop Tour of Atlanta, the 2013 Decatur Garden Tour, and is a regular speaker on sustainable agriculture and homesteading techniques throughout Metro Atlanta. 6 person min.

Guided Tree ID Bike n Hike: See the Colors begin to change Sunday, October 27 , 10am – noon. $10 Wylde Center Member, $15 Non Member Location: Arabia Mountain Nature PreserveMeet at 3787 Klondike Rd, Lithonia, GA 30038 Join arborist and environmental educator Robby Astrove on a guided tree ID bike n hike at Arabia Mountain. We’ll identify species, learn about the local ecology, and note cultural and historical places of interest along the way. We’ll plan to ride 4-5 miles and hike 2 miles of moderate terrain. Participants are responsible to bring their own bike. Please bring plenty of water and dress in long pants and closed toe shoes. 7 person min and 12 person max.

How Not to Water your Garden Saturday, November 2, 1-3pm $15 Wylde Center Member, $20 non-member Join garden coach Daniel Ballard of and learn the best and not the best practices for water management in landscapes. The class will cover the extremes of drought and deluge. Daniel will take the class across the street to a yard that he has worked on to show you first hand how water issues have been practically addressed. Learning about water in this way will save you money and time while increasing your yields and satisfaction. Handouts provided.

Make Your Own Hanging Air Plant Terrarium Sunday, November 3, 2-4pm $30 Wylde Center Member, $35 Non Member You’ve seen them hanging everywhere and now you may learn to make your own! Join Kurt Straudt of and learn the tricks of the trade for building a tiny hanging world for your pet Tillandsia (air plant)! Everything provided: hanging glass globe, air plant and materials to create scenes like forest, beach, snow globe or whatever your dream up. This class is suitable for adult/child teams.

Intro to Wild Foods and Medicines: an Autumnal ID walk at the Oakhurst Garden Sunday, November 3, 2-3:30pm $10 Wylde Center Member, $15 Non member Join Wye Marley, a local amateur herbalist, for a fun and informative walk through our garden gem, the Oakhurst Garden. Participants will learn how to identify and harvest common plants for their nutrition and healing properties. Wye Marley has been studying botany and DIY herbal medicine for over four years. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Sciences in Herbal Medicine at Goddard College. She leads a variety of foraging classes around Atlanta. "Let thy kitchen be thy apothecary; and, let foods be your medicine."- Hippocratus. 4 person min. Rain date is TBA.

Crop Rotation and Planting for all 4 Seasons Saturday, November 16, 10-12pm $15 Garden Members, $20 Non Members Learn about growing food year round from a local farmer! Gather and learn at the Oakhurst Garden with local farming guru Joe Reynolds, of Love is Love Farm, for an in depth view of our planting calendar with tips, tricks, and methods for a full year of abundant harvests. Crop rotation gives various benefits to the soil and can help deter pests and diseases while improving soil structure and plant productivity.

Unearthing Black Gold: Composting with Truly Living Well (Turn your scraps to compost and take the gold home!) Saturday, November 16, 2-4pm $20 for Wylde Center Members and Old Fourth Ward residents , $25 for general public. Location: Wheat Street Garden of Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture, 75 Hilliard St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30312. Turn your kitchen scraps into treasure with TLW’s Crew Chief and composting extraordinaire Evan Brown. Learn how to balance your green to brown ratio, attract worms and other tips to create the richest soil possible. Bring 1 pound of your kitchen vegetable scraps in a bucket, work through the TLW composting process, and leave with 1 pound of TLWs valuable black gold to enhance your home garden . Rain date Nov. 17, 2-4pm. Free parking is available on site at the Hilliard Street entrance. 7 person minimum. Max 15.

Edible Garden Design Sunday, December 1, 2-4pm $20 Wylde Center Member, $25 non-member Join garden coach Daniel Ballard of and learn basic principles of integrating edibles into landscapes. Participants will learn about zones for edible annuals, edible perennials, and shrubs/trees and how to identify the right plants for the right place in a landscape. Daniel Ballard has over twelve years of landscaping, gardening, and educational experience. He is an accredited organic land care professional with the Northeast Organic Farming Association and has a diploma in environmental horticulture. Handouts provided.

Make Your Own Holiday Succulent Centerpiece Sunday, December 8, 2-4pm $50 WyldeCenter Member, $55 Non Member Get ready for the holidays with a beautiful living centerpieces that will far outlast the holidays! Join Kurt Straudt of ane we will combine traditional holiday greenery with succulent cuttings to create a unique arrangement that light up your holiday table. In January, you can take the succulent cuttings and plant them in pots and watch them grow! All materials included. This class is suitable for adult/child teams.


Brought to you by

The Wylde Center, Dekalb County Public Library System, and the City of Decatur have teamed up for another year to offer FREE CLASSES on a variety of sustainable topics.

Events take place at the Decatur Library, 215 Sycamore Street Decatur, Georgia 30030. For more information about this series visit our website or contact   No registration is required. Spread the word! Simply Delicious: Healthy Food to Celebrate the Season Wednesdays October 16, 10:30-11:30am Join the fun and funky Wylde Center Chefs and learn scrumptious recipes, tips, and tricks to enjoy fall foods. Jennifer, Jerilynn, and Charlie are leading cooking classes called Simply Delicious at the Decatur Rec Center throughout the year on select Tuesdays at 7pm. Check them out at or contact Dealing with a Solar Spill – Harness the Sun & living Sustainably Saturday, November 30, 10:30-12pm Could solar electric power work for you? What does it mean to live the sustainable life? Join Sol Haroon, Lead Systems Engineer at Suniva for a look into what solar electric power is today and how to harness the sun. This solar tour and look “underneath the hood” will be within the context of living a sustainable life and the many grounds that such a life covers. Urban Farmers vs. Urban Gardeners Saturday, December 14, 10:30-12pm Join the Wylde Center staff gardeners in a panel discussion about the fine line between an urban farmer and an urban gardener. Discussion topics will include approach, scale, commodities, future planning, till vs no till, plow vs double dig, and the distinctions between horticulture and agriculture. As sustainable practices progress, we see the traditional and nontraditional forms of agricultural planning evolving and entering urban planning to create a new exciting era of urban farms and gardens. The last 30 minutes of the panel will be open for questions.

5 PERSON MINIMUM AND ADVANCED REGISTRATION REQUIRED AT WYLDECENTER.ORG Simply Delicious : Canning & Freezing your Fruit and Vegetables Tuesday, October 15, 7-9pm $35 Wylde Center member, $40 non-member Location: Decatur Recreation Center - 231 Sycamore St, Decatur, GA. Canning and freezing are great ways to preserve the food you grow or purchase from your local farmer. Remove the mystery and fear out of preserving your food using the boiling water bath & pressure cooking methods of canning. Join the Wylde Center chef Charli Vogt in a beautiful kitchen. Class is hands on, so bring your apron and your knives. Learn about the equipment you need, the process, and cautions to make it totally safe. We will also talk about freezing food and how to do that safely.

FOOD HEALTH, ART & WELLNESS Glass Leaf Plate Sunday, October 20, 1-3 $35 Wylde Center Member, $40 fnon-member Location: Siyeh Glass Studio located at 2480 Memorial Drive. Parking is available in the vacant lot next to the studio. Celebrate fall by fusing real leaves into a solid glass plate! Pick your favorites from our garden-from ferns to oak and sweetgum--then paint them with glass powder and capture every detail forever in glass. Minimum age 8. Class will take place at Brenda Griffith’s studio,


Candle Making From Beeswax Saturday, October 26, 1-2:30pm $25 Wylde Cenrer Member, $30 Non Member Join Cassandra Lawson, our Bee Team Leader, and make your own beeswax candle by pouring into molds. Learn the proper temperatures, wick size, and tips to make your candles perfect. Beeswax produced negative ions that are said to clean the air and when burned beeswax candles leave no residue. Each participants leave with their own beeswax candle they poured. This is an adult class. Find Cassandra’s Bees on Face Book and

Simply Delicious : Give Thanks for Homemade Pie Crust Tuesday, November 5, 7-9pm $30 Wylde Center Member, $35 for non-member Location: Decatur Recreation Center - 231 Sycamore St, Decatur, GA. Join the Wylde Center chef team in a beautiful kitchen and get ready for a Thanksgiving with homemade pies. We’ll make flaky buttery pie crust and fill our pies with fresh pumpkin and sweet potato fillings. You will go home with a crust to fill and bake on your own.



Simply Delicious Series at the Decatur Recreation Center This August the Wylde Center, in partnership with the Decatur Recreation

Celebrate the Harvest with Pottery! Adult Class Thursday , November 7, 6:30-8pm $35 Wylde Center Member, $40 Non Member Location: That Pottery Place North Dekalb Mall 2050 Lawrenceville Hwy, Decatur Park near Food Court Join Andrea Zoppo and Edith Pula, owner of That Pottery Place, for a hands on pottery painting workshop for adults. Create a beautiful thanks giving platter that is food and dishwasher safe. Impress your guest with art you made yourself. Makes a great gift! Bring some drinks, wine and snacks and let’s get creative. Pottery will be ready to pick up 2 weeks after the class. Advance registration is required by Nov. 5.

Candle Making From Beeswax Sunday, November 10, 2-4pm $25 Wylde Center Member, $30 Non Member Join Cassandra Lawson, our Bee Team Leader, and make your own beeswax candle by pouring into molds. Learn the proper temperatures, wick size, and tips to make your candles perfect. Beeswax produced negative ions that are said to clean the air and when burned beeswax candles leave no residue. Each participants leave with their own beeswax candle they poured. This is an adult class. Find Cassandra’s Bees on Face Book and

Earth Poetry with Stephen Wing Sunday, November 10, 2-4pm $5 suggested donation For centuries, poets have celebrated the Earth, its seasons, its creatures, its beauty and its bounty. Poets have also grieved the destruction of nature and the growing spiritual separation between human beings and our home planet. Poet Stephen Wing will introduce some of the voices of this poetic tradition and offer a chance to write a poem of your own amid the inspirations of Oakhurst's own Eden. Participants will share and write/share their inspirations from the garden and season. Please register online for this class. Check out his website at Participants may bring an adult beverage to share.

Center, began a new series of cooking classes called Simply Delicious! Focusing on seasonal produce and pallets, local chefs guide participants through easy scrumptious recipes in a beautiful newly renovated kitchen in downtown Decatur. The Wylde Center chefs Jennifer Weissman, Jerilynn Bedingfield, and Charli Vogt are passionate about health and flavor. Their backgrounds are based in this love and the belief that food is not just a necessity but can bring people together in celebration of the season and the body. Weissman is a health educator, a school food advocate, and a baker while Bedingfield, avid gardener, loves cooking what she grows as well as being an herbal enthusiast. Vogt is a registered nurse, health coach, long time Wylde Center teacher and believes that food can be a key healing force.

Kiln-Cast Glass Boxes Sunday, November 17, 1-3 $35 Wylde Cenrter member, $40 non-member Location: Siyeh Glass Studio located at 2480 Memorial Drive. Parking is available in the vacant lot next to the studio. Come make a little solid glass box with a lid out of frit (crushed glass) in this workshop. These boxes are perfect for holding your trinkets and treasures or giving as gifts. Anyone from age 7 and up can make a beautiful box the very first time! This class is appropriate for a child-adult team, or come by yourself! Minimum age 7. Class will take place at Brenda Griffith’s studio,

Simply Delicious : Cook Great Food without Wheat or Dairy: Easy to Digest Recipes Tuesday, November 19, 7-9pm $30 Wylde Center Member, $35 non member Location: Decatur Recreation Center - 231 Sycamore St, Decatur, GA Join the Wylde Center chef Charli Vogt in a beautiful kitchen and learn to adjust your favorite recipes into easy to process delicious food that all your friends and family can enjoy. More and more people are learning they are sensitive or even allergic to foods we tend to use daily. This class will reveal the healthy alternatives! Make sauces without flour, cake & cookies without eggs, dairy or wheat! Adjust some recipes and learn when to just start all over with a new recipe.


TAKE A CLASS! Make your Own Blown Glass Holiday Ornament Saturday, November 30, 10am- 11am $30 for Wylde Center Member, $35 non-member Location: Decatur Glass Blowing at 250 Freeman St. Decatur, GA 30030 Join Glass artist Nate Nardi, of, inside his awesome studio and learn how to create your own hand blown glass art. Participants will get an inside look at a professional glass studio located just 2 miles from the Oakhurst Garden. In the class you will learn about the tools, the safety procedures and how to create a holiday ornament with colors you choose. Child-parent teams are accepted. Youth under 18 need to sign a waiver. Max is 8 and if class fills a second session will be offered at 11:30am. Holiday Glass Ornaments (2 times) Sunday, December 15, 1-2pm AND 2:15-3:15pm $20 Wylde Center member, $25 non-member Location: Siyeh Glass Studio located at 2480 Memorial Drive. Parking is available in the vacant lot next to the studio. Children, bring your favorite adult (or adults, come by yourself!) and create three holiday ornaments or winter sun catchers in this class taught by local glass artist Brenda Griffith. Using the technique of glass fusing--melting pieces of glass together in a kiln and making a new piece of glass out of them--participants will blend crushed glass, glass spaghetti and decorative stained glass chunks into three beautiful flat glass ornaments or sun catchers. Give them as gifts or keep for your own enjoyment. Each session is limited to 12 participants/ pairs. 4-9 year olds need to be accompanied by an adult; 10 and up can be dropped off.

Simply Delicious : Holiday Harvest Healthy Sides Tuesday, December 3, 7-9pm $30 Wylde Center Member, $35 for non-member Location: Decatur Recreation Center - 231 Sycamore St, Decatur, GA. Holiday sides can be festive, tasty and healthy too. We’ll create dishes for your holiday meals with winter staples including sweet potatoes, greens, beets, cranberries and more. Join the Wylde Center chef team in a beautiful kitchen.

Simply Delicious - Making Your Own medicine: Tinctures, Teas, Tummy remedies, Taming the cough. Tuesday, December 17, 7-9pm $35 Wylde Center Member, $40 Non Member Location: Decatur Recreation Center - 231 Sycamore St, Decatur, GA This class will focus on creating medicine for Winter and Spring transition to combat flu, cold, & cough season. Learn to make tinctures, flu remedies, cough syrup, ear infection treatment and other helpful healing recipes. Join Wylde Center chef Charli Vogt in a beautiful kitchen. Please bring 2-3 small glass containers in which to carry home the medicine you make. Family Fun! Kids in the Coop Thursday, September 26, 4:15-5:15pm $10 Wylde Center Member participant/family, $12 Non Member participant/family Join the Oakhurst Garden manager JC Hines for a fun family introduction to the basics of chicken care. Learn how to pick up, feed, and be a keeper of chickens. You and your child will have the opportunity to ask questions, interact with a chicken and learn where eggs come from. Parents can find out how chicken keeping can fit into your lifestyle and your child’s learning experiences. What better chore than caring for chickens? Perfect for ages 4-12, with a parent in attendance.


Little Buggie Tea Party Toddler and Parent Fun! Friday, October 18, 10-10:45am $10 Wylde Center Member, $12 Non Member Join nature enthusiast and educator, Nicole for an enchanting tea party! This class is for children ages 2-4 and their parents . Come in costume and representing a bug or insect of your choice, parents are welcome to dress up too! We will prepare an healthy and safe herbal tea and enjoy it together as well as learn about bugs through theatre games. All little buggies are welcome... even roaches and spiders We love u too!


Beginner's Natural Soap Making Class from Scratch: Vegan Cold Process Saturday, December 7 , 10:30-12:30pm $40 Wylde Center Member, $45 Non Member Join Quinnie Demetria Cook and learn how to make soap from scratch using natural ingredients. Save your skin as well as your money and have fun doing it! In this hands-on demonstration class students learn the basics of how to make traditional vegan/vegetarian Cold Process Soap ( the way Grandma made it ) by using a blend of oils, butters and lye. Students will leave with a small batch of soap plus handouts and information so that they can go home and make their own soap from scratch. Quinnie started making soap and skincare products to help relieve her daughter’s irritated skin caused from eczema. After reading the ingredients in so called "natural products" Quinnie decided to make her own skin care products for her family. She now sells her wonderful soaps online and events around Atlanta.

Bring your Cartoon Character to Life! Kids Cartooning in the Garden Saturday, October 26, 10:30-11:30 am $7 Wylde Center Member, $10 Non Member Join local Decatur author/illustrator Sharna Fulton of The Chloe Pink Doodle & Dream in the City Book for some artistic fun. Pencils, erasers, markers, etc. provided as Sharn’ helps you plant creative cartoon seeds and sprout your imagination on paper. Drawing basic shapes, you’ll learn how to create a look and personality for your cartoon character. Plus, you’ll take home your very own three panel comic strip. Parents may drop off. Perfect for ages 6+. 10 person max. Profits benefit the Wylde Center.

Faerie Stories and Homes in a Magical Forest! Saturday, October 26, 12:30-1:45pm $12 Wylde Center families, $15 Non-members families Location: Woodlands Garden 932 Scott Blvd Decatur, GA 30030 Fun Families, join our very faerie Miss Lady Bug and storyteller extraordinaire Christy Foelsch, of Kids Go Wild, in the enchanted forest of Woodlands Garden. Enjoy charmed fairy tales and create biodegradable tiny homes. There, elves and faeries will dance and entertain the forest creatures.The houses will stay at the Woodlands Garden and join a plethora of other faerie homes made the previous week. We will enjoy a snack of fresh apples and honey from the Oakhurst Garden. We ask parents to stay and help their children learn, build and respect the forest. 6 Family minimum 15 max. On-site parking is available but limited, so please walk or carpool if possible.

5 PERSON MINIMUM AND ADVANCED REGISTRATION REQUIRED AT WYLDECENTER.ORG Family Fun Garden Sing Along Saturday, November 9 , 5-5:45pm Free for Wylde Center Member, $5 suggested donation for General Public All ages are welcome to join Farmer Sean at the Oakhurst Garden for super fun, educational sing along. This class is for the whole family. We think toddlers will especially love this class so put on our dancing shoes and join the songs. Advanced registration encouraged. Bring a picnic and stay at the Oakhurst Garden for Smores 4 All from 6-8pm with more free live music and smores!

Family Fun! Kids in the Coop Thursday, November 14, 4:15-5:15pm $10 Wylde Center Member participant/family, $12 Non Member participant/family Join the Oakhurst Garden manager JC Hines for a fun family introduction to the basics of chicken care. Learn how to pick up, feed, and be a keeper of chickens. You and your child will have the opportunity to ask questions, interact with a chicken and learn where eggs come from. Parents can find out how chicken keeping can fit into your lifestyle and your child’s learning experiences. What better chore than caring for chickens? Perfect for ages 4-12 with parent in attendance. Families will have the opportunity to taste the delicious honey from our bees as well. Make your Own Blown Glass Holiday Ornament Saturday, November 30, 10am- 11am $30 for Wylde Center Members, $35 non-members Location: Decatur Glass Blowing at 250 Freeman St. Decatur, GA 30030 Join Glass artist Nate Nardi, of natenardi. com, inside his awesome studio and learn how to create your own hand blown glass art. Participants will get an inside look at a professional glass studio located just 2 miles from the Oakhurst Garden. In the class you will learn about the tools, the safety procedures and how to create a holiday ornament with colors you choose. Child-parent teams are accepted. Youth under 18 need to sign a waiver. Max is 8. If class fills a second session will be offered at 11:30am.


Create and Glaze Clay Ornaments for the Holidays at That Pottery Place: Family Class Thursday , December 5, 4:30- 5:45pm $20 Wylde Center Member, $25 Non Member Location: That Pottery Place, North Dekalb Mall, 2050 Lawrenceville Hwy, Decatur Park near Food Court Join Andrea Zoppo and Edith Pula, owner of That Pottery Place, for a hands on clay workshop for kids and/or adults. We will make clay ornaments and gifts. Great class for ages 6+. Adults can participate and make art too. Children under 6 must be accompanied by an adult. Pottery will be ready to pick up 2 weeks after the class. Advance registration is required by Dec 2.

WYLDE THINGS! Fall Gardening Series for toddlers and parents Wednesdays October 9-30, 10:30 -11:30am, (4 sessions) $40 Garden Member, $50 Non Member Join our Wylde Garden Educator Amy Foster on a playful exploration of the garden as the summer turns to autumn! Share the wonder of the outdoors with your child as we celebrate the abundance of food, flowers, bugs, birds and magic through stories, songs, and garden activities. Registration ends on October 4. Contact in advance for questions or if you want to try the program for the 1st day.

Circle of life! Children Gardening Series from soil to harvest 10:30-12pm Every other Saturday September 21-November 16 & 23 (6 sessions) $75 for Garden members, $90 for non-members Discover the wonders of watching plants grow, bloom, and produce food! Join our very own Garden Educator Amy Foster every other Saturday for an ongoing gardening adventure that will show your child the patience and joy of planting and harvesting. Participants will cultivate a part of the Oakhurst Garden and discover the resources it takes to be a gardener. From compost to worms, seeds to veggies, your child will join us in the gardening circle of life. Fresh apples provided as snack. Drop off class perfect for ages 4-8. Parents may stay for the first class. Registration ends September 17. You may try out the 1st class for just $15 (non member rate). Take the whole series and your child will bring home the harvest! Contact in advance for questions 19


PICTURE IT! Pollinators keep flying in fall to sip nectar from flowers and spread the pollen that allows plants to make fruits and seeds. One of our own summer campers wrote this story about a young bee – now it’s your turn to “bee” the illustrator! Read the story, then draw a picture to go with it on the book pages below.

A Bee Named Luke By DeJuan Green, Age 7, Urban Farm Camp Session 3 Once upon a time, there was a baby bee named Luke. He had just hatched out of his egg. Then he had small little wings. He couldn’t fly. He had to go to bee school. At school, he learned how to fly. Then they had recess. Then they did work. Then they ate lunch. Then they had to go to gym. The gym bee teacher taught Luke and the other bees to fly. Then bee school was over. The queen bee told one of the worker bees to go pick up Luke. When he got home, the queen bee asked, “What did you learn at school?” Luke said, “I learned how to fly and how to eat nectar, and I know how to make a bee hive.” The end.



GIFTS RECEIVED JULY 1 - SEPTEMBER 30, 2013 GROWING CIRCLE MEMBERS ($500-$5,000) Anonymous IN MEMORY OF Sally Wylde by Joan Perera IN HONOR OF The Visionaries of the World by Wendy Watkins CIVIC AND BUSINESS MEMBERSHIPS/CONTRIBUTIONS Time Warner Matching Grants Program Travelers Insurance VMware Foundation FOUNDATIONS Anonymous Kaiser Permanente Patrick Family Foundation Wells Fargo John and Mary Franklin Foundation Aileen Phillips Trust David, Helen and Marian Woodward Fund The Zeist Foundation MEMBERSHIPS RECEIVED Anonymous Heath Alexander Michelle Sayyar Andotra Jennifer Ballentine and Scott Kelsey Kim Baskerville Melissa Black Bill and Haqiqa Bolling Lori Bonicelli Marcia Borowski Elizabeth Briere Nancy Brim and Peter Carnell Gisele Butker Faith and Norman Clifford Jane Cronin Anna Watkins Davis Stephen and Linda Dorage Susan Doyle and David Goo J. Walter Drake Donald and Genevieve Edwards Marishyl and Richard Ford Tayiba Garcia Jerry Gentry Judith Grubbs Frank Harned Courtney Hartnett Peter Glenn Helfrich Shon Henderson Adam Horowitz Julie Jacobson Robert and Linda Kay Carolyn Kennedy Robert and Judith Koski Nancy Koughan Cris and Don Lake Carla Linkous and Samuel Stewart Lynn Manfredi-Petitt and Bob Watkins Judy and Steve Marks David and Therese May Veronique McBride Shannon McDuffie Elissa Meites Linda Nalley Robin Palenske Ellen Powell Amy Price Mark Reeve and Leslie Withers Walter Reeves Martha Rogers and Jan Moore Benjamin and Darice Rose Anthony and Shannon Scalese Deneta Sells Kenna Simmons Christa and Tim Sobon Stephanie Straeter Angie Tacker and Peter Coyne Linda Travers Jeanette Truong Vera Vogt Robert Weintraub and Lorie Burnett Elisa Woods




his is the time of year when bags of leaves grace our sidewalks. Collecting bags is like being in the candy store: just one more.... Unlike candy, you can’t have too much!

What to do with this bounty? • Add it to your compost as brown material (especially if the leaves are shredded or mixed with lawn clippings). • Stash bags here and there in your garden, where they’ll begin to rot gently; they will be available to you whenever you need to mulch nearby plants. • Build a leaf pile with pallets and dump the leaves on the pile, and use the empty bags as a base for sheet mulching; water the pile occasionally if the weather is dry; in 6 to 8 months you’ll have ready-to-use leaf mold. • Use dry leaves as bedding inside your chicken coop instead of store-bought straw. • Dump a few bags in your chicken run and watch your birds make compost for you to collect. If you want to store some bags of leaves for use in spring and summer, keep in mind that • their bottom will rot and they will be harder to move if stored on the ground; • if you need dry leaves (for coop bedding) you will need to store them under shelter.

Asian greens mulched with leaves to keep their roots cool.

Two hens contemplate their coop freshly bedded with oak leaves.

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The direct lender you know The Financial Center YOU TRUST. Accounting • Tax • Mortgage • Financial Two Decatur Town Center 125 Clairemont Avenue, Suite 150, Decatur, GA 30030

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Subject to change without notification. Information provided should not be considered as a commitment to lend. Offer subject to property and credit approval. Program and other restrictions may apply. Please contact your Loan Consultant for further details. ©2012 Fairfield Mortgage




by Melanie Heckman, Education Program Manager


auren Harper came to us this summer, eager to intern with the Wylde Center’s Education department. A rising and stellar sophomore in Sustainable Development at Appalachian State University, Lauren has a keen interest in learning how to connect the public with sustainable education, technology, and practices. While she goes to school in North Carolina, Lauren is no stranger to Atlanta. She graduated from Grady High School, where Science Department Chair and AP Environmental Science teacher Korri Ellis helped inspire Lauren to pursue sustainable development. This pursuit and interest in education is also founded on Lauren’s many years at a summer camp that focused on healthy living and agriculture, and her experience as a summer camp counselor. Lauren heard of the Wylde Center through a magazine and began researching it as a possible place to volunteer. When Lauren came home from college this past summer, she therefore came to us, eager to get involved with the Youth Education Program. Lauren was our right-hand gal for publications, using her extensive graphic design experience to put together beautiful new brochures, flyers, signs for this summer’s Beer Garden, and more. She even designed the last issue’s kids’ page! However, Lauren did more than simply graphic design for us – in fact, she wore nearly every hat possible in the education department. She assisted with preparing for summer camp, and even filled in as a counselor for a day. She helped lead summer field trips, was a pillar of office organization, employed her web savvy to post camp photos online, and assisted weekly with the teen summer program at the Decatur Housing Authority. Her flexibility, efficiency, exceptional work ethic, and

commitment to her work meant that no stack of work ever lasted long in her hands. To put it simply, Lauren was a rock star for us this summer. She typically spent 10-20 hours per week at the Wylde Center, but unlike most college student interns, she was not receiving school credit for her work. She simply did it because she enjoyed it, wanted to learn, and is passionate about sharing her knowledge and experience of sustainable development and education.

design • installation • maintenance 404.373.0023 22





Dear JC,

weet potatoes planted in the spring yield impressive quantities when harvested in late in September and October. How many pounds did you harvest? Now it is time to store the sweet potatoes in a cool, dry spot and dig out your recipes. We saved you the work on one recipe. Try it and let us know what you think!

SWEET POTATO APPLE SOUP 2 sweet potatoes, washed, peeled, and diced 1 large tart apple, peeled, and cored 2 tbsp olive oil 1 bay leaf 1 onion, chopped 2 stalks celery, chopped 1 large carrot, chopped 5 cups broth or water ¼ cup heavy cream (optional) 1 lemon, zested and juiced salt and pepper to taste Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, bay leaf, and carrot; saute until tender. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Add the sweet potato and saute. Add the broth and apple; cook until tender. Puree in batches using a regular blender, or use an immersible blender to puree while in the pot. Return to the soup pot, and stir in the cream (if using), lemon zest, and lemon juice; taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Heat through, but do not boil. Ladle into serving bowls, and garnish with crumbled cheese. Recipe submitted by Nichole Lupo, Wylde Center’s Garden to Classroom Educator.

I have never had much luck with growing root crops in my garden. It seems like every year I will get great beet greens, but no beets; radish greens, but no radishes; tiny carrots and small onions. Am I doing something wrong? Is there something I can do? Sincerely, Looking To Put Down Roots in Decatur Dear Looking To Put Down Roots in Decatur, The answer to your problems is in a laundry detergent. That’s right. What you need is in the laundry aisle of your grocery store! If you were born before 1980, you might remember your mother using 20 Mule Team Borax to get your whites whiter, or scrub your bathroom tiles. Guess what: you can also use it in your garden! Before you go sprinkling 20 Mule Team Borax on your garden like it’s magical fairy dust, let me tell you a little bit about why you use it and how it works. 20 Mule Team Borax is almost 100% borax, a naturally occuring mineral. Boron, contained in borax, is an elemental plant nutrient found in most soils. However, this nutrient isn’t always found in large enough amounts to benefit the plant. Boron helps balance sugar and starch, helps form cell walls, and helps transport potassium. Boron and potassium are necessary in all aspects of plant growth, but they are particularly important in vegetables that need their sugars to develop a good root. Boron can be added to the soil two ways. One way is to add one tablespoon of borax to a one gallon watering can filled with water. Mix the borax well so it doesn’t get clumped to the bottom of the watering can. It is important to get the borax as evenly distributed as possible. Plant your seeds or seedlings and water the borax right into the soil. My preferred method is incorporating borax as a powder into the soil, at roughly 1/4 cup to 25 square feet. An old flour sifter is a great way to distribute it evenly. You can also use an old pair of panty hose to make a great duster. I lightly rake it in before planting my seeds or seedlings. Borax is a great additive to the soil. but in high quantity boron can become toxic, just like any nutrient. Excess boron can become a problem in areas with very dry climates (like much of the American West). In our climate it is readily leached through the soil, so boron excess is unlikely if you keep to the recommended dose. If you have never added boron to your soil before, you likely won’t see any damage from high levels or subsequent use. I always recommend to do a soil test to make sure you are keeping a good nutrient balance. I apply borax once in the fall and once in the spring to the areas where my high demand plants will be. Because I rotate the placement of my crops, I lessen the risk of too much boron being added to the soil.

We were very impressed by the 5 pound "La Cabesa" sweet potato, harvested from the College Heights Early Learning Center in Decatur in preparation for the system-wide sweet potato taste test. How many children do you think a 5 pound sweet potato might feed? In total, 305.75 pounds of sweet potatoes were harvested from the College Heights Early Learning Center, Clairemont, Glennwood, Oakhurst, and Winnona Park Elementaries.

Plants that benefit from adding boron to the soil include beets, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, turnips, and onions. So no more worrying about not getting those dee-lish Chioggia beets or Royal Chantenay carrots. With an indefinite shelf life, borax will give you happy roots for a long time to come. Happy Growing!





by Véronique Perrot


ummer is winding down, and the garden shifts into its quieter, cool weather mode. There is now time to think back about the past season and make a note of which crops and varieties did well, and which ones didn’t work out. This way, when the seed catalogs flood the mailbox in January, you will have the beginning of your wish list for next year’s plantings. So you open the catalog, start browsing, but you notice all these abbreviations: OP, GMO-Free, F1, Heirloom. That is all good and well, but what does that mean? Does it mean that some of the seeds contain genetics that I don’t want? Here is something we hear often during the plant sale: “I bought a plant from a local garden store. When I came home I saw that it was a hybrid. I don’t want GMO’s in my garden.” We are here to correct this statement with the information below. In short, F1 does not equal GMO. First, what is a variety? Variety is the term gardeners use to refer to a particular type of a given crop, such as tomatoes of the ‘Sungold’ or ‘Cherokee Purple’ variety. From a practical standpoint, all the plants from the same variety look and behave alike: they form a homogeneous group. In addition, the plants look like the plant described in the catalog or on the seed packet. That is one of the reasons we buy seeds: we know what we’ll get. Next, what do “open pollinated” (or OP) and “hybrid” (or F1) mean? We need to go a little deeper into the biology of plants to answer this question. By the definition of a variety, all the seeds of a given variety are very similar, or almost identical. That’s why all the plants of a given variety look so like each other. This can come about in two ways. If the seeds you bought came from plants identical to those on the seed packet, this is an open pollinated variety. The seeds were produced by letting plants of this variety pollinate themselves or each other. The variety is said to breed true; it is a pure line. If you save seeds from open pollinated varieties, they will be identical to the ones you bought, as long as there was no cross pollination with another variety of the same crop. In practice, this means that the seeds for ‘Cherokee Purple’ tomatoes came from ‘Cherokee Purple’ tomato plants, and if you save seeds from your plants you can maintain your own line of ‘Cherokee Purple’ for as long as you want to. Seeds that are identical to each other can also be produced from the cross between two pure lines. These are hybrid seeds, or F1, to indicate that they are a first generation cross (F1 stands for “filial 1”).

Plant breeding primer Plant breeding began when the first farmers planted some of the seeds they had gathered instead of eating them all. Rather than going back to the wild plant populations every year, these first farmers began to propagate some plants in gardens, thus selecting various characteristics on these plants. Like modern day gardeners, these farmers grew the plants they liked best: they chose specific plants for their taste and ease of harvesting and growing, for their color, shape, and texture, etc. The methods used by plant breeders didn’t fundamentally change until the XIXe century, when advances in plant biology, genetics, and statistics allowed for more efficient selection schemes.


Wild cabbage (Brassica oleracea) still grows on seaside cliffs in Northern Europe. For 3,000 years, this species has been selected in various directions to give us large leaves (kale and collards), large flower buds (broccoli and cauliflower), large side buds (Brussels sprouts), swollen stem (kohlrabi), or large heads (cabbage).

Don’t expect these plants to breed true. If you save the seeds from hybrid varieties, next year you will get an assortment of plants that will be different from each other and from the one you planted first. For example, the ‘Sungold’ tomato seeds we sowed this spring for the plant sale came from a cross made last summer between two parental lines, neither of which were ‘Sungold’. These parental lines have to be maintained separately as pure lines to be used to produce hybrid seeds.

Generally speaking, plant breeding is the process of creating or improving plant varieties. In short, a plant breeder selects plants with desired characteristics, crosses them together, and selects again, until the breeder has collected all he wanted in a single line. What the breeder obtains at the end of the selection process depends vastly on how many possibilities he had to start with. This is why plant breeders collect as wide a diversity of plants as they can when they start a breeding program. They may include wild relatives of the cultivated species to broaden their genetic basis. They may need to use lab techniques to help some crosses to grow. Plant breeders sometime resort to inducing more mutations in their lines to increase variability.

Breeders grow these plants, evaluate them and do more crosses, until they find the desired combination of characters in one of their plants. They then cross maintain their favorite line for a few generations to obtain a stable variety. Plant breeding doesn’t have to be left to professionals; it can—and should—be done by gardeners. Gardeners can select for the characteristics they like in their own varieties. Because their varieties will be grown where they were selected, they are likely to be well adapted to these particular local conditions. To get you fired up, read the newly published Plant breeding for the home gardener (see Resources for more details).


Are hybrids bad? There is nothing intrinsically wrong with hybrid seeds, as long as you don’t mind buying seed every year for these varieties. Hybrid varieties have been produced with the same plant breeding techniques as OP varieties. Because they are more recent varieties, they tend to be more homogeneous than heirlooms, which is good if you are a market grower. For some crops like tomatoes, hybrids usually have resistance to more diseases than heirlooms, and tend to produce for longer periods. What are heirloom varieties? Heirloom varieties are varieties that have been in cultivation for a long time, either because they have been selected in a particular region and have been maintained there by gardeners and farmers, or because they were introduced by seed houses a long time ago. There is no hard and fast definition for heirloom varieties, but usually “a long time ago” means before WWII or so. It also means that heirloom varieties are open pollinated, as only these varieties can be maintained by gardeners. What are GMOs and GM seeds? Genetic modifications are the latest set of tools in the plant breeder’s arsenal. In a classic plant breeding program, the breeder hopes that a desired characteristic is present in the gene pool. With genetic modification, a specific gene can be introduced in the plant of interest using molecular biology techniques, regardless of the gene’s provenance. The limits placed by the ability of the source of the gene to cross with the plant of interest are removed. The resulting plants are called GM plants, or transgenic plants, or GMOs. GMOs and GM seeds are not available to gardeners. GM seeds are under strict control from their producers who do not want to let go of these genetic modifications. Farmers who grow these varieties have to sign a contract with the seed producers that forbids them to save seed. Until your seed packet comes with paperwork, you will not be planting GMOs in your backyard. Heirlooms vs. hybrid, hybrid vs heirloom? Every plant has its place, every plant has its purpose. For crops such as lettuce, okra, and peppers, heirloom and OP varieties grow as well as hybrid varieties. Stick with OP and heirloom varieties if you want to save your seeds for next year’s crop. For crops such as tomatoes and broccoli, hybrids are clearly more vigorous, produce more and for longer, and have more disease resistance. For these crops it is probably a good idea to hedge your bets: plant some heirlooms for their diversity and interesting tastes, and plant some hybrids to extend your harvest and ensure some yield if pests and pathogens wipe out your heirlooms.

Genetic diversity: form and function One of the reasons often mentioned for growing heirlooms is to maintain genetic diversity. What does this mean, and why do we care? By definition, there is little genetic diversity within a plant variety. That’s why the plants of a given variety look so much like each other. On the other hand, because varieties are different, there is diversity between varieties. Roughly speaking, more varieties lead to more diversity. Food production shifted to industrial farming after WWII, leading to an abundant and very cheap food supply in the US: the percentage of disposable income now

Corn like you’ve never seen it: corn varieties from South America used to introduce more genetic diversity in US corn varieties (Germplasm Enhancent for Maize project from the USDA).

Resources For more about saving seed: The complete guide to saving seeds, by Robert Gough and Cheryl Moore-Gough, Storey, 2011. International Seed Saving Institute: For more about plant breeding: Plant breeding for the Home Gardener, by Joseph Tychonievich, Timber Press, 2013. Plant and Soil Science eLibrary has lessons on many topics, including corn breeding: For more about GM plants: Genetically modified food: Good, bad, ugly, by Arthur L. Caplan, in the Chronicle of Higher Education, 9/9/2013 ( Our favorite plant catalogs (in alphabetical order): Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds,, (417) 924-8917 Fedco Seeds,, (207) 426-9900 Seed Savers Exchange,, (563) 382-5990 Southern Exposure Seed Exchange,, (540) 894-9480

spent on food in the US (less than 10%) is less than half of what it was in the 1950s (around 20%), and is the lowest among developed countries. This shift in agriculture, also known as the Green Revolution, relied on increased use of fertilizers, pesticides and machines, and on new plant varieties bred to respond well to these growing conditions. These new varieties, relatively few in number, displaced a host of traditional varieties. In extreme cases, where most of a particular crop has very similar genetic traits, there can be widespread plant disease epidemics. In the late 1960s, plant breeders used a female parent strain for their corn hybrids that happened to be sensitive to a particular

strain of the fungus that caused Southern corn leaf blight. By 1970, about 90% of the planted corn crop carried that genetic sensitivity. The disease appeared in 1968, and reached epidemic proportions in 1970, destroying 15% of the corn crop and costing an estimated $1 billion. This female corn strain is now rarely used, but genetic uniformity is rampant in food crops; it is a disaster waiting to happen. Closer to home, we mourn the loss of taste in many supermarket vegetables, bred for yield, uniform appearance and their ability to withstand coast-to-coast travel. Heirloom varieties don’t have a hope in an industrial setting, which is why it is up to us gardeners to keep them alive, grown, and eaten.





was the holly bushes in his front yard that brought Rob Hamilton to fruit trees. Rob was not much of an “I like to garden” kind of guy when he first bought his house, though he did have great memories of his father’s garden. The holly bushes required annual maintenance involving gloves, pruners, and ladders. With a neighbor reminding Rob annually that he had to complete this unwelcomed task, Rob decided, “out with the hollies!” He tore them out. Left with bare ground around his house, Rob needed to plant something new. Perhaps he should plant a vegetable garden like his father’s? Not enough sun eliminated that option. Knowing he wanted something edible, Rob started researching the possibility of planting fruit, specifically fruit that he couldn’t just buy at the store. Finding such resources as Edible Landscaping, Raintree Nursery, NAFEX, and California Rare Fruit Growers (see Resources), he discovered a world of weird and unusual fruit, often with interesting stories attached to them. He became hooked, obsessed really, with finding unusual fruits that would do well in this Atlanta climate. With fall just around the corner, the perfect time to plant fruit, Stephanie Van Parys talked with Rob Hamilton about his take on unusual, yet tasty fruits to include in an Atlanta garden. SVP: Let’s start with an easy question. What is your favorite fruit? RH: That is a very difficult question! How about whatever is in season? What I am really looking for is the taste of the fruit produced, what does the plant look like when it doesn’t have fruit, how do insects and wildlife respond to it, and what interesting ways can the fruit be prepared. I also like how the fruit connects me to a community with the same passion for growing fruit. That connection keeps me going. SVP: For those new gardeners wanting to plant fruit in their yard, what are some of the easier ones to start with? RH: Figs, Nanking cherries, and pineapple guavas (feijoas) are easy ones to start with because they are easy to plant and maintain. SVP: Basic planting guidelines—what is your advice? RH: Plant your fruit tree/shrub in the fall or winter for increased plant survival success. For deciduous plants (those that lose their leaves in the fall), planting in the fall means that they are focusing their energy on establishing their roots in the soil. Dig a hole that is as deep as and twice as wide as the root ball. After planting the tree/shrub, mulch with leaves around the base and be sure to water it once every few weeks during the first year to get it established. SVP: If you plant in the fall, can you expect fruit the following spring? RH: In most cases, no. Even if planted the prior fall, trees are still delicate. Prune or pick the flower/fruit off the trees the following spring. This way the tree can focus on root and leaf growth versus putting its energy into fruit production. It will be the second spring that the tree is in the ground before you can allow it to set fruit. Even then, it will be 3–5 years before you see a significant amount of fruit. SVP: How about figs? RH: Here is a fruit tree that you can plant in the fall and pick the following year. If it is very small, be sure to provide winter protection when the temperature gets below freezing. This is as simple as wrapping the plant in a sheet. There are great varieties available such as Brown Turkey, Celeste, Hardy Chicago, Sal’s, Conadria, and others. The fig tree prefers full sun, but can take partial light.


by Stephanie Van Parys “Fruit trees got me back into the garden and interested in plants. I rediscovered nature in a way I didn’t think I was interested in before.” Rob Hamilton

SVP: What about blueberries? Do they require any special treatment? RH: The problem with blueberries is that people treat them like any other shrub when they are not. To have a happy blueberry plant, here is what you need to do: Double dig the area where they are going. Mix into the dug soil so that over 50 percent of the new soil is now made up of shredded oak leaves, peat or shredded pine bark; then mulch with pine straw. By adding these materials you are not only adding a rich source of organic matter, but also acidic materials. Blueberries like their soil more acidic than most plants we place in our garden. Plant your blueberries into this amended soil. The hole should be shallow to accommodate the thin matted roots of the blueberry plant. Water well and top-dress/mulch with leaves, pine straw, or shredded pine bark. Very important! The following spring, pick off all the flowers and young fruit. This way the blueberry plant can focus on growing strong roots. Soak the root ball once every two weeks the first year. SVP: I want to know which fruit you really get excited about and that we can plant in Atlanta? RH: That is a hard question! How can I choose? Ok, the ones I get the most excited about are the ones I can’t grow in Atlanta—like mango or avocado. Since you are asking me about fruit that we can grow here in Atlanta, I do have a few. Mulberries (Morus sp.) are considered a weed tree, but sometimes you stumble across a truly magnificent specimen whose berries taste exquisite. Beyond the ones that grew on their own, you can also plant named varieties of mulberries in your yard chosen for specific characteristics. As we all know, the birds really like mulberries as well. So if you are planting a specimen, you will need to net the tree while it is young to keep the birds from eating all the fruit. Nanking cherries (Prunus tomentosa) produce beautiful flowers in the spring and provide an early source of food for bees. They are very prolific, producing enough fruit for humans and wildlife. However, know that the flavor is tart, not sweet like we are used to with most cherries. The cherries are great for eating fresh, but also for converting to jams and jellies. Ichang lemon (Citrus ichangensis × C. maxima) is a citrus tree that grows in my yard without winter protection. The fruit is huge, the size of a grapefruit. It is mildly bitter with a thick rind. Though very seedy, the fruit can be squeezed for juice that tastes like a combination of grapefruit and lemon. The leaves are also very aromatic and can be used as one would use Kefir lime leaves for cooking. The tree and its blooms are incredibly aromatic, filling the air with a citrus perfume.


TOP: Nanking cherry. BOTTOM: Pineapple guava flower.

Pineapple guava (feijoa, Acca sellowiana) is a great evergreen shrub to plant in the front yard. It has large succulent purple flowers that feature large red stamens. You can carefully pick the succulent petals and enjoy them as a sweet snack. Fruit wise, the shrub is very productive. When ripe, the fruit falls to the ground. It has a flavor that combines citrus with mint and strawberry. Overall, the fruit shrub is very low maintenance and provides all-year interest since the leaves are evergreen. SVP: What fruit tree is a must have for an experienced grower? RH: I find pawpaws to be the most challenging fruit to grow in my garden. I had not successfully transplanted them until fairly recently. The root system is very fragile. Pawpaw trees (Asimina triloba) really need to be babied the first year in your garden. Provide shade, water, and mulch around their roots. Once established, the pawpaw tends to do very well. I now have a few pawpaw trees in my yard that are doing very well after I spent time getting them through their first year. A pawpaw is so different than everything you have ever tried before. SVP: You mentioned at the beginning that you did a lot of research on fruit trees and shrubs before planting in your garden. Would you mind sharing your tried and true resources? RH: NAFEX is a great organization for finding out more information about sub-tropical to temperate varieties. What I like about NAFEX is that you will find out very specific information on unusual fruits such as jujube that you can’t find through a Google search. The Southern Fruit Fellowship deals mostly with sub-tropical to hardier citrus, mayhaws, persimmons, and pecans. Good organization for someone interested in sub-tropical fruit. If you are local, the Atlanta Fruits Club is a great organization to join. We meet quarterly to talk about fruit, what we are growing, get ideas from other people, and just hang out. We host a grafting demo each year. All levels of interest and experience are welcome. If you are looking for nurseries that sell these plants, Edible Landscaping and Just Fruits and Exotics are my go-to place to purchase plants. They both have great plants and are well worth visiting.

TOP: Ichang lemons in Robert’s yard. BOTTOM: Robert’s harvest of pineapple guavas.

SVP: Any final words of advice? RH: Plant what works best for you. At the same time, don’t proceed with reckless abandon. However, be bold! Be adventurous! Try something new! SVP: Try something new—that certainly got you hooked. What have you tried that is unusual, but yet so easy? RH: So much can be done with fruit beyond fresh eating. For example, I know someone who takes small, undeveloped apples and brines them like olives. That is a great solution for the apples you prune off your tree. Who would’ve thought that was possible? I have turned sour citrus rinds into sweet candied rinds. Blueberries can be pickled. Trifoliate oranges (Poncirus trifoliata) can be turned into wine. Or what about trees that produce fruit you never thought you could eat. Cornus kousa is a dogwood that is planted all around Atlanta with some fine specimens in Little Five Points. Though the texture might be off-putting to some, the fruits are sweet with an interesting taste. Cornus mas, another species of dogwood, produces fruit that can be eaten when red and starts to shrivel up. They are sour, and a little bit bitter, however with some sugar to make a jam, they are wonderful! This jam is eaten on a regular basis in Turkey and Armenia. Look around, you will be amazed at what is edible. Think beyond fresh eating. Sometimes the best way to eat the fruit is when it has been processed in some way. Online resources

Robert Hamilton’s blog: Atlanta Fruits Club: North American Fruit Explorers: Southern Fruit Fellowship: Southeastern Palm and Exotic Plant Society: California Rare Fruit Growers:

In print

Backyard foraging: 65 familiar plants you didn’t know you could eat, by Ellen Zachos, Storey 2013


Edible Landscaping: Raintree Nursery: Just Fruits and Exotics:



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Non-Profit Org US Postage PAID Permit # 328 Decatur, GA


Front cover, inside photo and back page photo courtesy of David Callihan


Interested in finding out more about the Wylde Center and how you might support our programs? Or are you a current member and you feel like being celebrated? Join us on November 3 from 4-6 pm for a fun celebration of membership. Hot dogs/veggie dogs with all the fixin’s plus sides will be served for dinner. Fun children activities are planned so bring your kids! Have a favorite marshmallow roasting stick? Be sure to bring it since our fire pit will be available for marshmallow roasting.

S’MORES 4 ALL! NOVEMBER 9, 6-8 PM AT OAKHURST GARDEN NOVEMBER 16, 6-8 PM AT SUGAR CREEK GARDEN Celebrate fall with us at the S’mores 4 All! Family Event at the Oakhurst Garden and Sugar Creek Garden.

Come as a current member, renew your membership at the party, or just come to learn more about our programs. RSVPs appreciated:

November 9 at the Oakhurst Garden will include • A BIG leaf pile to jump into • S’mores • Story telling by Christy Foelsch, Director of Kids Go Wild • Live Music by MoRhythm


Oakhurst Garden is located at 435 Oakview Road, Decatur, GA 30030

Free for Wylde Center Members $5 suggested donation for General Public Register at All ages are welcome to join Farmer Green Thumbs at the Oakhurst Garden for a super fun and educational sing-along. This class is for the whole family. We think toddlers will especially love dancing to the songs. Advanced registration encouraged. Bring a picnic and stay at the Oakhurst Garden for S’mores 4 All! from 6-8 pm with more free live music and s’mores.

November 16 at the Sugar Creek Garden will include • Face painting and fall craft station • Leaf pile for jumping (please also bring a bag of leaves with you to add to our pile!) • Leaf pile jumping competition • S’mores • Live music • Warm fall beverages including cider and hot chocolate

NOVEMBER 9, 5-5:45 PM

Sugar Creek Garden is located at 415 East Lake Drive Decatur, GA 30030

Profile for Wylde Center

Wylde Center Fall 2013 Magazine  

Starting with the beautiful photo of an okra plant in bloom, the Wylde Center's fall issue is packed full of information. Read about our De...

Wylde Center Fall 2013 Magazine  

Starting with the beautiful photo of an okra plant in bloom, the Wylde Center's fall issue is packed full of information. Read about our De...