By Zoey Phillips, Candler Park Resident and Grady High School Student
It’s unsuspecting from the street. All you can see is a pebbled, winding alleyway with an automatic wooden gate wedged open with fallen leaves. A painted, metal sign is nailed to a tree reading “Mulberry Fields Garden,” but there are no directions of how to get there, just that alley, shaded by a canopy of trees.
This alleyway is more familiar to me than the back of my hand. I know and love every protruding root and dip in the path.
After a bend, you are dumped out into a wide open space glowing with golden sunlight. To the left is an arch draped with crimson red tea roses and to the right are wooden gardening plots decorated with blooming plants. A banana shaped tree swing hangs from a towering pecan tree.
I was there for the hanging of that exact swing. I was sitting on my kitchen floor when my mom came in with the box. When I opened it and saw the yellow rubber and chain, I knew exactly what it was and I couldn’t wait to have a tree swing of my very own. I can still swing for hours. It’s my happy place.
This enchanting swing lives at Mulberry Fields Garden and I was lucky enough to grow up in this slice of paradise. My family has been a part of the garden since the beginning, and so I take a sweet sun-ripened tomato and fresh organic chicken eggs for granted.
Ever since I was little, I have had access to this oasis in the middle of the city. I have eaten fresh pecans from the tree after collecting them from the grounds with my friends.
It’s a whole other world when you can walk down the street to pick fresh veggies or collect an array of flowers for the coffee table in the living room. In the summertime, I don’t think my family has ever had to buy green beans from the store because so many grow in our plot. It’s a luxury to have access to farm to table fresh foods in a city.
I have also owned some of the goats who live there. Helping to raise them, mixing formula and nursing the babies and even bathing them were commonplace experience for me.
One year I sat for hours combing lice out of my baby goats fur. First we had to bathe them in a mixture of water and Dawn soap. This in itself was nearly impossible because goats do not like to get wet. Then, I had to painstakingly comb through every inch of a wiggling baby goats lice infested fur with a human lice comb. And there were two baby goats who needed the spa treatment.
These experiences are rare for a city girl. When I tell my friends that my only pet is a goat or that I will not eat the eggs at their house because I am used to fresh ones and the store bought ones just don’t taste as good, they think I am insane. But I am proud to have been exposed to this alternative way of living and to be able to consider the garden as my backyard.
Bring your family to Mulberry Fields
Mulberry Fields Garden located in the Candler Park neighborhood is one of the best places in Atlanta for your children to make lifelong memories. The garden is open everyday during daylight hours and is located down the alley at 1301 Iverson Street, Atlanta, GA 30307. Children love the tree swing and visiting with the goats. Children also love creating imaginative forts under the branches of the evergreens, chasing butterflies through the plots, and running their fingers through the ocean blue pebbles in the vintage tub. It is all here waiting for you.
Mulberry Fields garden celebrates 20 years!
On September 7 from 5-11 p.m., we are having our Mulberry Fields Gone Wylde party to celebrate our 20th anniversary of the garden. We will have live music, face painting, food and drinks, and plenty of kid activities. We can’t wait to see you! http://wyldecenter.org/mulberry-fields-gone-wylde/