Hound Ears Club’s new community garden is already so popular, there are “no vacancies” for its beds.
Outdoor amenities continue to be a hit among club members across the country, so Hound Ears Club in Blowing Rock, N.C., is cultivating its members’ green thumbs with a community garden that was built in-house last year by Tim Presnell, Director of Property Services, and his team.
Named for Grover Robbins, one of the property’s original developers in 1964 (and the inspiration for the club’s hound dog mascot), Grover’s Garden is situated next to the property’s dog park, Grover’s Park, which was featured in C&RB’s Idea Exchange in the September 2015 issue (“Gone to the Dogs”).
“Members and residents can place their dog in the dog park, and then they can work in their garden, while their dogs are having a great time playing and running around,” says Don Vance, CCM, CPC, Chief Operating Officer and General Manager. “It’s a ‘doggone’ good concept.”
The garden currently features 18 raised beds, and because of the new amenity’s popularity, the club is planning to add more for next year. Members gain access to the garden through an annual lottery system, and then receive guidance from staff on the best ways to tend to their crops. Tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, snap peas and more have been grown so far, though the club stipulates that no corn or tall plants are permitted.
Once the crops come in, members can take their produce home, share it with friends and neighbors, or give it to Hound Ears to be incorporated into the club’s menus.
“What’s really fun for me is to see the ‘high-powered’ attorneys, bankers, and CEOs of companies who are now retired or semi-retired working in their garden,” Vance says. “You can actually feel the peace in the garden because they leave their problems at the gate.”
Beyond bringing satisfaction to current members, the outdoor areas are also proving to be appealing to prospective members. In the last two years, Hound Ears has added 65 new members with an average age of 47, and Vance believes the dog park and community garden are playing a role in the growth.
“Clubs today need to grow—pun intended—and build gardens, dog parks, fly-fishing parks, hiking trails, and so forth,” Vance says. “We believe that by adding these amenities, we have seen an increase in interest in joining our club.”