Common Ground Community Garden - 2022 Grant Recipient

This Texas community garden has been getting people out of their apartments and into nature for 12 years.

A smiling woman with her hands full of lettuce next to a dog
(Image credit: Common Ground Community Garden)

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX -- In the U.S. there are many diverse types of community gardens, from rural food forests, inner-city plots in food deprived areas, suburban neighborhoods and schools. Some are run solely by volunteers, some are sponsored entirely by agencies and community businesses, but most often they serve a population of people who are confined to apartment living or are otherwise unable to grow a backyard garden. There are many people who fit this description in the North Richland Hills region of Texas.

In North Richland Hills the Common Ground Community Garden spans a 1.5 acre area and contains 70 plots, 4 by 20 feet (1.2 x 6 m) each, which are rented to gardeners in this community for a nominal annual fee. Gardening Know How was pleased to award a sponsorship to this well-run garden that’s been functioning successfully for 12 years. Initially a co-operative effort between a local church and the city of North Richland, folks from the local Master Gardening chapter and community volunteers “run the show.”

A smiling man and woman in a garden

(Image credit: Common Ground Community Garden)

We spoke to the garden’s coordinator, Master Gardener Rachel Howe, who organized the group of 7 volunteers that keeps the garden running smoothly and growing. One of the beautiful things about this garden and the goals of its leaders is their dedication to providing education for gardeners of every age.

Education for All

This enthusiastic group of gardeners presents seasonal seminars in spring and fall, which are well-attended. This spring’s audience of 150 gardeners enjoyed speakers that included meteorologists and specialists on the use of organic products for pest and weed control. Master Gardeners are available for advice and direction at these events, as well as having a helpful everyday presence at the garden. In addition, Rachel regularly speaks to the folks at the local senior center about gardening.

Common Ground’s colorful website offers detailed information on growing regional-specific vegetables, pest control, fertilizing and seed planting, as well as posting event notices and stunning photos. At this time there’s no formal teaching program for students, but there’s hope that a junior master gardening program will be reinstated with the help of additional volunteers.


Common Ground uses and teaches organic methods, including mulching, composting and pest control. Local companies provide soil and mulch that the garden is allowed to purchase at cost. The garden also sells great looking t-shirts on its website to support its efforts, and appreciates the thousands of hours contributed by local volunteers.

Two smiling women next to a cooler of fresh produce

(Image credit: Common Ground Community Garden)

Family Gardening And Learning

Children visit and work in the plots with their parents in this family friendly space. The garden boasts a beautiful registered butterfly waystation to provide fuel for migrating monarchs. The waystation even has its own “street,” named Butterfly Boulevard.

During the sequestered days of COVID, the garden provided a much-needed respite of fresh air and open space for families to relax, take a deep breath and immerse themselves in nature.

Two smiling men sitting on a bench

(Image credit: Common Ground Community Garden)

New Projects

Our Gardening Know How sponsorship funds will come in handy this year for some of Common Ground’s planned projects:

  • A brand-new blueberry bed is being built and will be planted in May.
  • A local Eagle Scout who is also a gardening enthusiast will be building a 3-bin composting system for the garden.
  • A local Master Gardening chapter is installing a new landscape planting of beautiful drought tolerant plantings that will demonstrate how to build a xeriscape landscape. Rachel says they hope to “draw in members of the community (including beneficial insects and wildlife!) to enjoy our garden space with us.”

The Common Ground Community Garden in North Richland Hills has an incredible amount of support and enthusiasm in the community. Check out their Facebook and Instagram spaces for more information by searching for “commongroundNRH.”

Want to learn more about the unique programs that have been awarded a Gardening Know How grant? Check out our Community Gardening for Everyone page!

To hear first-hand accounts from the gardeners who are making a difference, make sure to check out our speaker series!

Caroline Bloomfield
Manager of Marketing Communications

Caroline Bloomfield is Manager of Marketing Communications at Gardening Know How since 2019. A northwest native, she has resided and gardened in multiple zones in the U.S. and is currently at home in Eugene, Oregon. Writing and editing for various publications since 1998, her BA in American Studies from Southern Maine University includes an emphasis in English. She was raised in California by avid gardeners and continues to enjoy the natural world with an appreciation for the concepts of sustainability and organic care for the planet.