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Lilburn cuts ribbon on community garden

Staff Intern: John Spruill  Teresa Czyz, from left, Jeremy Myers, Allison Turner, Liburn Mayor Johnny Crist, Angie Ballard, Virgil Ponzoli, Peggy Bergman and Diana DePina cuts the ribbon for the opening of the LiLburn Community Garden on Saturday.

Staff Intern: John Spruill Teresa Czyz, from left, Jeremy Myers, Allison Turner, Liburn Mayor Johnny Crist, Angie Ballard, Virgil Ponzoli, Peggy Bergman and Diana DePina cuts the ribbon for the opening of the LiLburn Community Garden on Saturday.

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Staff Intern: John Spruill Chris Giddens and her 4-year-old daughter, Campbel, plant seeds during the grand opening of the Lilburn Community Garden on Saturday.

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Staff Intern: John Spruill Folks gather at the LiLburn Community Garden during a grand opening celebration on Saturday.

LILBURN -- Vegetables, flowers and community -- that's what Lilburn officials and volunteers hope will grow in their new public garden.

Lilburn Mayor Johnny Crist and members of the volunteer board cut the ribbon to officially open the Lilburn Community Garden Saturday afternoon, an act Crist called "beyond miraculous" given the compressed timeframe they worked under to get things ready. Along the way, they learned that a community garden isn't necessarily just about giving the public a spot to play in the dirt.

"As we talked to the gardeners," Crist said of a previous visit to a Tucker community garden, "they said this is not about gardening at all. They said, 'My best friends are here!' That it's a place of community. Vegetables are the byproduct of community."

The organic garden is actually several smaller gardens -- there are currently 27 plots that have been rented by residents, some 4-by-8 feet and some 4-by-12. Spurred by Crist, the project was put together entirely by volunteers.

The goal is to open 27 more plots on the roughly two-acre lot -- situated near Lilburn City Hall and its neighboring park -- in coming months and expand more in years to come.

"Our dream is for even more expansion in the future," volunteer board president Peggy Bergman said. "It's just a fabulous, fun, peaceful way to get people together."

Lilburn residents Dick and Gloria Hitchcock were already busy planting tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and squash Saturday afternoon.

"We thought it was an interesting concept and that it would be a great way to meet people," Gloria said.

"Old Town Lilburn is just so nice and this is a great addition," Dick said. "It fits in perfectly with what they are trying to do."

For more information, visit lilburncommunitygarden.org.

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