Ridge and Valley Garden
The ECO Center garden started out as a construction dump filled with rubble that was transformed into a beautiful native garden with the help of a team of UGA Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners.
When the 2006 SPLOST approved the repurposing of a vacant 1890 water pumping station into what is now the ECO Center, then-director Eric Lindberg asked the Floyd County Master Gardeners to develop a landscaping plan. The Master Gardeners planned the Ridge and Valley Garden using only native plants in accord with LEEDS guidelines. The plan was designed by a student at GNTC and was approved by the UGA Rome-Floyd Cooperative Extension.
The garden area was originally packed mud mixed with construction debris, rock, and ditches caused by water runoff. After removing debris, the City of Rome used heavy equipment to install a dry creek bed for drainage and a rain garden. Using money donated from the Master Gardener budget along with a GA Master Gardener Association grant, volunteers purchased truckloads of mulch to amend the mud and make soil.
Since 2010, the work has continuously evolved as the garden grows. Specifically, the Master Gardeners have implemented a meadow that utilizes native grasses developed by the Botanical Garden of Georgia that are specifically sustainable for conditions at the ECO Center.
The UGA Floyd County Master Gardener Volunteers see the ECO Center as a demonstration of what’s possible using hard work, imagination, and education. Over time the landscape will continue to evolve showing what can be done with careful use of appropriate plants, native to their environments that support populations of local pollinators and provide an educational resource to visitors to the ECO Center.
The culmination of the hard work of the Master Gardeners was honored by the placement of the Ridge and Valley Garden on the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail. Thanks to the dedication of our Master Gardeners for a garden that is sure to be enjoyed by people and pollinators for years to come!