Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The story of a library garden August 10, 2020

The vegetable garden on the side of Buckham Memorial Library, Faribault, Minnesota.


LEMON CUCUMBERS. Purple beans. Dill. Snap peas. Kohlrabi.


A developing ground cherry? Or something else?




Ground cherries.


The list of vegetables grown in a community garden at Buckham Memorial Library in Faribault also includes ground cherries, tomatoes, Swiss chard, eggplant, cilantro, rosemary. Plus clover and sunflowers. And maybe some plants I’ve missed.


A vegetable blossom.


Several types of tomatoes grow in the garden.


Purple beans.


While I had hoped to harvest beans during a recent stop, I found them still too small and other vegetables (the ones I would eat) not yet ready for picking.



Sunflowers burst color into the garden.


Another view of the garden.


But I still took time to photograph this wedge garden, a project of Friends of the Library. The Friends Organic Learning Garden was designed several years ago as a place for folks to gather and learn how to:

  • grow delicious organic food
  • care for the earth and our water supply
  • support pollinators
  • connect with others in the community


There’s a bee lawn right next to the vegetable garden.


Another unidentified vegetable developing.


A warning sign next to the library and by the bee lawn.


It’s a great idea. Anything that brings people together, educates and meets a need—providing food—certainly holds value. I have, in past years, enjoyed vegetables from the library garden. That includes lemon cucumbers, which Lisa Reuvers, library employee and lead master gardener, says “were a hit a couple of years ago.”


The garden features a hummingbird sculpture, “The Color of Flight, by Jorge Ponticas. This was funded by the “Artists on Main Street” program several years ago.


I’ll keep an eye on those coveted orb-shaped cucumbers as they ripen and grab a few for salads…


TELL ME: Does your community have a similar garden? Or are you a gardener? I’d like to hear.

© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


8 Responses to “The story of a library garden”

  1. Fauna and flora are good for everybody – humans to insects to birds to etc. Currently growing limes, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Plus we keep a lot of fauna and flora for the birds, butterflies, and bees. The squirrels and snakes like the protection too. Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

    • Thank you for sharing how you are caring for this world. I could do without the snakes, thought. Saw two yesterday while walking through a graveyard at an historic church near Millersburg. Post forthcoming at some point.

  2. What a great idea this is. We have several areas that have community gardens but nothing quite this unique. how wonderful to use the space and share the wealth.

  3. valeriebollinger Says:

    I like seeing gardens that offer up the produce to whomever wants it. There are a few in Northfield.
    We have not planted a vegetable garden for several years now…maybe it’s time to resume…;-)
    Those are great photos of vegetables!

  4. Thanks Audrey for sharing your part of MN and your community gardening efforts. I shared your blog with our bio garden volunteers here. Some concepts are universal.😊🌱

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