Meet the Garden Managers
Missy Hamilton is a Nashville native who began her gardening journey at age 3. (Her parents never forgave her for “reorganizing” their patio garden.) As an adult, she enjoys working with people of all ages and specializes in teaching all how they can grow healthy food on any budget no matter where they live. She is passionate about organic gardening and loves to learn about native plants and pollinators, medicinal plants, companion planting, and most importantly – beneficial bugs. She wants to be a bird watcher when she grows up.
A lifelong gardener, Stuart Englert grew his first vegetables as a child in the backyard of his parents’ home in Ferdinand, Ind. He’s been gardening ever since, including starting a community garden in abandoned flower beds at Belle Meade Highlands, the condominium complex where he lives in Nashville. In 2015, Stuart donated several dozen tomato and pepper plants that he grew from seed to BELL Garden. He planted and tended the vegetables and began volunteering at the garden. He’s been donating plants and working at the BELL on and off ever since.
In 2020, Stuart advised the BELL on how to better use the garden’s greenhouse. He also spearheaded planting of the garden’s field rows, promoted the garden’s plant sale in 2021 and began serving as one of the BELL’s regular team leaders. This year, Stuart will offer a 10-week Greenhouse Apprentice Program to 10 individuals who would like to learn how to grow vegetables and herbs from seeds as well as transplant and nurture seedlings before they’re planted at the BELL or sold during the garden’s spring plant sale.
A 1984 graduate of Indiana University’s School of Journalism, Stuart is a former newspaper reporter and magazine editor, having worked on publications in Indiana, Idaho and Tennessee. Since 2015, he’s published nine books, including six of his own titles. He’s also an aspiring songwriter.
Finding the BELL Garden in July of 2020 was one of the biggest blessings of that year. In the midst of stark Covid isolation and remote work, I stumbled upon an oasis. In this verdant, life-filled garden, I had the opportunity to grow food for the community, spend time outdoors, and meet the most incredible, unique, and friendly people. I couldn’t believe a place like this existed within a big city. From the first day I volunteered, I knew I wanted to keep giving my time to this special place, and have volunteered weekly ever since.
Working in the Garden alongside other volunteers, I’ve heard amazing life stories while weeding and laughed as we swap embarrassing middle school stories while transplanting strawberries. I’ve had the privilege of being mentored by strong women who teach me how to be bold and navigate difficult situations. I’ve been given invaluable life advice about doing what you love in life. This deep community spills out beyond the fence line of the Garden – I’ve cheered on volunteers at their concerts, caravan-ed to off-the-beaten-path country cafes with other volunteers to enjoy lunch after the Saturday morning workday, gotten to hold volunteers’ grandbabies, and read their own published books. These people have become my family.
I believe that it is in giving that we receive. Giving my time to the BELL Garden has given me more than I ever could have hoped for in a community garden.
In addition to co-managing the raised beds, herb garden and vertical garden, Arianna has also obtained funding and is helping lead a new educational hydroponics project at the Garden. She currently works at The Nashville Food Project (TNFP), a local nonprofit, as a Meals Coordinator. When not at TNFP or volunteering with BELL, you can find her at a local coffee shop reading or journaling, walking or running through one of the Warner parks, or enjoying quality time and conversations with friends.
Join the team at BELL Garden
BELL Garden is 100% volunteer run. If you’d like to come work with and learn from this stellar team of Garden Managers, complete our volunteer application today. We’d love to have you!