Fall brings a new kind of beauty to the garden.

Fall brings a new kind of beauty to the garden.

Well, good grief. Somehow it’s been three weeks since the last blog post, for which I apologize! Hasn’t been for lack of activity; to the contrary, things have been so hopping and changing that time has gotten away.

One of the changes you may have noticed is that we have a new phone number, especially if you tried to call the old one in the time it was down. We tried to carry it over when our darling Liz left, but some poor person got assigned our old number. Forget you ever knew the old number, please, and call us at 501-410-3938.

Our email address remains the same.

Another change is something some of you have been asking for, a subscribe button for the blog. It’s getting done as I type – you can just put in your email address and you’ll be notified every time a new post goes up.

(Subscribers tend to make bloggers much more accountable about blogging, too. Consider that an unsubtle hint.)

As for what’s been keeping us busy, pretty exciting happenings. We’ve been working on the website for our sister endeavor, ESSE Purse Museum & Store, and it’s close to launching. You’ll love it.

And two weeks from today, the garden will be overflowing with cornbread competitors and tasters – advance-sale discounted tickets are available at arkansascornbreadfestival.com. We’ll let you know when we have printed ones in a few retail locations, too.

In recent news, we were very excited that the Mayor’s Carfree Challenge Week committee chose to hold the drawings for prizes at last week’s Bernice Garden Farmers’ Market.

Mayor Mark Stodola reads a winner's name. One lucky person got a $100-dollar Orbea helmet.

Mayor Mark Stodola reads a winner’s name. One lucky person got a $100-dollar Orbea helmet.

Smaller prizes ranged from CATA bus passes to passes to yoga studios, Dailey’s Fitness Center and the zoo. Everyone who participated (and even some who were just interested in learning about it for next year) got free reflective pant straps (to keep your pants leg out of your spokes). Dan Roda’s name was drawn for four half-day rental passes for Bobby’s Bike Hike, and grand-prize winner Aaron Roberts scored a Party on the Trolley – how fun to have access to your own trolley for a few hours!

Rumor has it that the trolleys will run past the garden in the foreseeable future. Now, that will really be something.

Speaking of our farmers’ market, you may know it runs through mid-November. You may or may not know that Bo Bennett is taking over for Liz Sanders – we’ll introduce him here when the transition’s complete. Cool guy; you’ll like him.

We’re also VERY excited to have our first official volunteer, Devin Williams, who emailed to say she is new to the area, loves the garden and would like to volunteer.

That was all it took to put us on the track toward something we’ve wanted to do for a while – explore forming a Friends of the Garden group of neighborhood folks who want to support in some way the garden that’s helped the neighborhood grow.

Devin is quite an impressive young lady, and she’ll get a proper introduction with a photo here soon (along with information about how you, too, can be a Friend), but for now, let me tell you that she recently finished grad school on the east coast, moved Little Rock, specifically to the Lofts at SoMa, and “immediately noticed the garden and started going to events like the farmers’ market and vintage market.”

Devin was drawn to the garden in part because of its beauty, but also because she sees it as a “nice center of gravity for the neighborhood. The Root Cafe, South on Main, Boulevard and The Green Corner store all emanate out from that center.”

We like to think so, but how nice to have someone else say it.

Devin’s moved around a lot in recent years and is eager to put down roots and get to know her new community. She’s already been struck by how friendly the area is.

“There’s that old trope about Southerners being friendly, and although I am from the South [she grew up in Virginia], I’ve been very struck by how welcoming everyone in the city has been.”

As we like to say, everyone finds a friend at the garden, and how lucky we are to have been found by Devin!

She’s going to shadow and train with our master gardener, Laverne Davis, who is thrilled to have the help – and  to pass her knowledge to a younger generation. That’s just one way she’ll volunteer, though.

Devin’s first official volunteer gig will be co-captaining the beer sales area at the Cornbread Festival, so you can say howdy there.

Watch for more details about volunteering as they develop. If you already know you’re interested, you can shoot us an email or comment below.

Here’s to healthy growth!