Annual South End garden blessing to be held April 7 in Kent

Visitors at the Thomas-Anderson Memorial Garden for the Grove of Elders dedication on July 23, 2022. Photo by Doria Daniels

The Thomas-Anderson Memorial Garden, one of four endeavors of Kent’s Historic South End Association, will be the site of the annual garden blessing from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. April 7 at 1110 Walnut St.

This year’s theme is Ujamaa, a political concept that means supporting one another through economic and social programs that promote interaction, cooperative building and improving community.

The short program will feature a State of the Garden message, a short review of the permaculture technique used to start the garden and a guest presentation by the Garden Club of Kent.

Local poet Jacquie Peoples Dukes, author of “South End Serenades,” will read her original poem, “Heirloom Garden.” DJ Harry Dukes will provide music during the event.

Portage County Master Gardeners who have partnered with the Historic South End Association to maintain monuments marking the South End’s boundaries will also receive recognition.

While supplies last, there will also be a seed packet give-away.

South End resident Doria Daniels started the Thomas-Anderson Memorial Garden in 2021 with support from local residents, friends, volunteer groups and countless donations. It includes a vegetable garden, a healing and culinary herb garden, a pollinator flower garden and a berry garden.

A Grove of Elders garden that features various fruit trees memorializes community members who were instrumental in building and sustaining Kent’s historic South End neighborhood.

Produce from the Thomas-Anderson Memorial Garden is readily available to the garden crew and passers-by and is also donated to Kent Social Services.

Attendees are encouraged to bring a lawn chair as they enjoy the event with neighbors and friends. Information will be provided as to how people may join the garden crew.

The Historic South End Association sponsors four projects: the Thomas-Anderson Memorial Garden, the historic South End monuments in partnership with the Portage County Master Gardeners, a Juneteenth Jubilee Celebration at Plum Creek and the South End planning committee, which provides guidance for community picnics and block parties.

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Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.