Building a community through gardening

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ROANOKE, VA (WDBJ7) -- Gardening may seem like a daunting task for some given the countless varieties of flora and the specific needs they carry.

When spring rolls around, seasoned gardeners feverishly jump into action. While many have their own yards to go to, those who don't take advantage of box plots in their community gardens.

"That's what we're trying to do is create access. Folks who don't have land themselves or who need mentors and want to come out and learn, this is a great space." said Anna Copplestone, Executive Director of the Roanoke Community Garden Association. This is Copplestone's first spring in the position.

That accessibility is what makes community gardening so special. Providing access to anyone in the community even going as far to reduce rates or entirely wave fees for those financially struggling.

Roanoke first began its community garden program in 2008 and now has four gardens spread across the city.

Mountain View Community Garden near Grandin is one of the most established locations with a number of returning members this year.

"We have some gardeners who have been with us for years. This is an endearing experience for them and they enjoy being mentors to new gardeners."

One of the experienced gardeners returning to Mountain View is Beth Ruffing. This will be her fourth year and she is excited to see what challenges or surprises this season brings.

"Last year, because it rained so much, the zucchini was just so abundant. I would pick up a leaf and there would be a zucchini three feet long! I've never seen anything like it. It was magical! So to your point each year you don't know what's going to flourish and what's going to fail."

Even if you have never gardened before, with the help from those more experienced, as well as master gardeners, a community garden can provide the perfect environment to grow.