Building The Reclaimed Garden Community

The most incredible gift of of the Reclaimed Garden was the supportive community that evolved during creation of the garden. There were four elements that inspired the community to form. These can be applied to any project or cause to attract supporters.

Legacy – People are inspired by building or contributing to a legacy that exists beyond them. People loved the idea that their plants and materials would live on, even after they didn’t need or want the items anymore.

Friends and neighbors watched the garden come to life in person on their evening walks and in photographs on facebook. Donations began to pour in. In the end, 25 gardeners and nurseries generously donated over 400 plants as well as rocks, mulch, bricks and concrete cylinders.

Contributors regularly toured the garden in person, on facebook or YouTube to observe the progress and see how their contributions fit into the whole project.

Acknowledgement – Acknowledgement is the glue that holds people together. It’s far more effective than praise, compliments and appreciation. Contributors were acknowledged throughout the garden development, connecting them to the project and each other.

Contributors were acknowledged in person at the time of their donation, in photos on facebook, with markers in the garden, and in person at the reveal party.  The acknowledgement was personal and lasting.

Mattison Grey is the world’s foremost authority on Acknowledgement. You can learn more about it in her book, The Motivation Myth.

Personalization – People were invited to participate in the project any way THEY wanted to. There were no rules. They could choose when, how and where they participated. Here are some of the ways people took part in the project:

  • Contributing plants or materials;
  • Donating time for watering, planting, photographing or making videos;
  • Sharing gardening tips and researching the names of plants;
  • Passing on sources for free plants and materials;
  • Offering words of encouragement, support and acknowledgement;
  • Observing the progress;
  • Sharing the project with others; and
  • Being interested.

Connection – People like to be connected to each other. As contributors and observers got to know each other through the acknowledgement process, they began to share ideas. The community has expanded out of Houston from Portland, OR to Orlando, FL. Some gardeners were inspired to propagate their own plants, pass plants on to other people, rescue plants from trash piles, and take on landscaping projects instead of hiring pros. The community is sharing ideas, plants, materials and assisting each other in their gardens.