Victory garden becomes urban garden in 21st century-Plots still available

Charlie and Maryann Wilson join in the cleanup.

The Canterbury neighborhood community garden began life as a World War II Victory Garden in the early 1940's and continues to support urban gardening efforts today.

One of three Cleveland Heights community gardens, located near the cinder path off Princeton Road next to Canterbury Elementary School, the garden has 35-40 plots and is run as a partnership between the Cleveland Heights Office on Aging, The Cuyahoga County Extension Service and local volunteers Carol Battle and Luella Eslick.

Carol Battle has been gardening there since the early 1980’s. “We can always use help,” she said during a recent volunteer cleanup on a soggy Saturday in late May. Senior citizens receive priority on renting a garden plot for the season, she said, and the garden is open to all residents of Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

Plots are generally 10 x 50 feet and cost the grower a mere $20 per season. That cost goes toward water, hoses, and other upkeep.

Battle said the garden is a place for growing friendships and supporting community needs. Veteran gardeners share their knowledge with newer gardeners and a number of the gardeners grow produce to donate to local food centers.

Also attending the cleanup were Shaker Road residents Charlie and Maryann Wilson. They’ve been tilling their plot since 1959. Pulling weeds and turning the earth in preparation for this season’s planting, Charlie fondly recalled being in the garden in 1943 as a student at Canterbury School and participating in the war effort to grow local food. He’s been at it ever since. “Its fun and it’s good exercise,” said Wilson.

Plots are available this growing season. Teams of two people may share a plot. Those interested in gardening at the Canterbury Community Garden should call Carol Battle at 321-5198.

Sarah Wean is a community volunteer.
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Volume 1, Issue 3, Posted 3:16 PM, 05.18.2008