Parking Lot Meets Forest Garden
Parking lots typically aren’t known for being the most inspiring and life giving of places. But if you’ve been to Healthy Living’s South Burlington location during the growing season, you know that it’s possible to transform what would typically be a lifeless urban landscape, into something wonderful… something edible! The island beds between parking spaces are intricate and stunning forest gardens designed, planted and nurtured by Meghan Giroux, owner of Vermont Edible Landscapes. Along with the help of her knowledgeable employee, Ross Scatchard, the two have created a unique and thriving ecosystem that delights and educates our community.
What is a forest garden? This age-old method of cultivation takes its lead from forest ecosystems that thrive via the exchange between the strata of growth, from the overstory to the understory. This principle is applied to the garden, where companionable plantings of fruits, herbs, shrubs, vines and perennial vegetables work together symbiotically. It’s the best of two worlds— the forest and the garden— and creates a rich ecosystem that is beautiful, sustainable and edible!
A native of Shelburne, VT, Meghan started Vermont Edible Landscapes officially in 2011. Around the same time, Meghan was introduced to Katy Lesser, the founder and owner of Healthy Living. As an experienced gardener, Katy was enthusiastic about Meghan’s idea to bring relevant ecosystems to the parking lot with edible landscapes and that’s how the HL partnership with Vermont Edible Landscapes began.
Meghan reworks and enhances our forest gardens every year. If you’ve been frequenting the HL Vermont location regularly, you might have noticed an interesting addition to the garden. “We’ve added some wattle fencing this year to keep enthusiastic shoppers off of the plants. We think it added a nice addition to the landscape.” Wattle fencing is woven wood used to protect and support plantings. These fences are typically fashioned out of slender, supple saplings of wood and have a certain whimsy and charm… like something out of a fairytale.
On the days that Meghan and Ross come to tend the gardens, they’ve enjoyed many conversations with our guests who are interested in the fencing, or have questions about the plantings. “It’s fun to inspire and engage the community.” Meghan sees the forest garden at HL as a way to educate people about what she is passionate about. “I’ll never take for granted being able to stand in that parking lot and talk to people.”
Thanks to Meghan, our parking lot is an exquisite, thriving and educational space.