Gretchen and the Garden

Gretchen watering her garden space.

Gretchen watering her garden space.

Zann Wilson

SaddleBrooke Ranch is proud to have a community garden, which owes its very existence to a special member of our neighborhood. Gretchen Malaski, a nine-year resident, has been pursuing the concept of a community garden almost as long as she has lived here. Gretchen loves to grow and has a lovely home landscape to prove it. Most importantly, though, is her grit, coupled with the dedication to getting us all an amenity that gives us joy and the additional benefit of connecting people through plants.

Gretchen began her journey of attaining a garden for us in 2014. She first approached Ed Robson with the idea. He mulled it over and agreed that maybe it would be feasible at SaddleBrooke Ranch because there was still much undeveloped land. After years of consideration (and Gretchen’s persistence), he and members of his corporate team, Jack Sarsam and Mark Giannanatti, finally bought into the idea. In the meantime, Gretchen took residents’ names to demonstrate interest, made calls, sent emails, had plans drawn, and visited numerous similar gardens in the Southwest, while never giving up on this valuable asset. Each time you visit our community garden, thank Gretchen. She is there most days, opening the shed, posting items on the bulletin board, picking up and watering her own garden space. She loves to talk with gardeners and is a spark of light in anyone’s day!

Garden spaces are still available, so if you have an urge to stick your fingers into the soil, now is the perfect opportunity to do so. You can find all the lease agreement information by logging into the HOA website. Only SaddleBrooke Ranch residents are eligible to lease a garden space, but anyone can swing by to view the progress of several boxes already growing in full swing. Imaginative gardeners are personalizing their garden spaces with garden art and using some innovative techniques for irrigation and planting. Look for notices of periodic Master Gardener Q and A events at the garden. Get your questions answered and enjoy a day of camaraderie in the peace and tranquility of the community garden.