Building a Concept and Growing it to a Gardening Reality

The summer is in full swing, temperatures and humidity are up; rainfall is plentiful. Our three PRI Health Corps wellness garden sites are now producing harvest. The two-pronged goal of PRI Health Corps is to build gardens that grow healthy vegetables and promote awareness of sound nutritional practices to foster healthy living or as we like to say, “living fit” in disadvantaged populations that are served by the host organization at the sites, students and staff at Beaufort County Community College, the visually impaired at the Blind Center’s site for their rural campus and Veterans at our own Betty Ann Sands Memorial Gardens at Rose Haven Center of Healing. An additional benefit of our approach to wellness is designing and then building wellness
components in that connect those who visit/work with other important elements of “living fit,”
such as the powerful impact that gardening and more generally nature has on promoting
mental, physical and emotional health.

PRI Health Corps Wellness Harvest at BCCC – Darnnell, Susan, and Kobe and of course our mascot, Bella

In the next three blog episodes, we will chronicle through video, photographs and description
the approach to and development of the three wellness garden sites, each with unique and
common features that advance our goals and mission of PRI Health Corps: to help mitigate food
insecurity, advance healthy eating and more generally promote wellness, or living fit.
Please join us in an exploration of our wellness gardens.

Wellness gardens expressed through metaphor:
All roads do not lead to Rome – but to a journey that unfolds in steps taken but never leaving
the site or the moment; you can walk, or wheel, or other mode of transport, almost 1/5 of a
mile on movement friendly pathways from start to finish at BCCC, 1/10 of a mile around the
outer connected paths at the Farm and 1/7 the of a mile journey on the garden labyrinth at
Rose Haven. In essence, the similar but different application of a radial design at all three
gardens lets you walk and see or walk and garden without ever leaving the space or the

Access to all, priority for none – using various shapes, sizes, heights, and materials for raised
beds, the opportunity for gardening is not limited by abilities, only by motivation.
When is a garden not just a garden – when more or all senses get to play and by no means a
finite: when colorful shrubs and perennials share bed space with fruits and vegetables; when
herbs and spices serve double duty, as aromatic intoxicants to the gardener and chef and subtle
or not so subtle taste accelerators for the palate; when arbors and trellises serve as ladders for
grapes, beans and welcoming jasmine to grow and structures of liminality to welcome and
usher people along on their journey of recovery; when garden’s birth, growth, and bloom of
petal and fruit is cast as art and provides the canvas, colors and studio, leaving the gardener as
a plein air interpreter of nature’s creative passion; when space to sit and share a reflective
moment with a plethora of winged, crawling and other garden visitors who help the garden

Beaufort County Community College Wellness Gardens: A PRI Health Corps Project

Our purposeful radial garden design emulates the concept of a garden labyrinth with several
wellness metaphors inherent in the arrangement of paths, beds, infrastructure and use of the
landscape geology to maximize production and wellness benefits to gardener and casual visitor
alike. Four areas open as additional growing spaces due to the radials and each become a
thematic garden within the overall wellness garden; salsa garden, squash garden, juice garden
with blueberry bushes and grape plants, and an area to feature an assortment of herbs.
Anchoring the circular design is a completed sun shelter serving as a planting space and
educational center. Benches for reflection and rest will be located in the herb garden and in the
observation area overlooking the wetlands. Solar will power lights and recirculating water
 12 beds built and planted in radial beds; 30 beds are possible
 Four themed gardens are in use
 all pathways laid down,
 boundary shrubs and trees from evergreens of cypress and spruce on the north giving
way to grasses on the south reflects the change from tree to wetlands in that area of
 sun shelter completed with adjacent tool shed (photo)
 harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash and onions now; all produce going to campus-
wide food pantries (photo)
 observation area completed, minus benches

Next blog – The Farm, Coming soon – Betty Sands Memorial Gardens at Rose Haven

If you are interested in joining our team, check out the link below of our listing for our 2nd Service Year beginning September, 2023! You can also find more information on our PRI Health Corps tab here on our website:

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