Urban Uprising Horton

Dave Horton has overseen the Urban Uprising project since 2017.

Unlike the increasing bustle of the adjacent Franklin Farmers Market on a recent Saturday, Dave Horton wasn’t having a very busy morning. 

As the keeper of what’s known as the Urban Uprising — a Williamson County Master Gardener Association project that features a series of raised gardens that hold a variety of plants grown in tight spaces — Horton knows his Saturday morning can go from extremely quiet to suddenly active as folks start peppering him with questions.

Urban Uprising sign

The line of people wanting to know more about the Urban Uprising may not rival that of the one for the nearby Ellie’s Old Fashioned Doughnuts, but the information Horton shares about the garden is a good bit healthier. It shows by example how edible plants can be grown just about anywhere and no matter how green a thumb one might have.

“The purpose of this was for it to be a demonstration garden to show what people could grow in small places such as on patios and balconies or in boxes,” Horton said of the project, which was launched in 2015 by the Master Gardener Association. “Before COVID hit last year, we had a number of people who would come by on Saturday mornings and ask several questions about certain plants and how you raise them.”

Urban Uprising sage

Many of the people wanting to know more about small-space gardening are residents of apartments and condominiums in the area. Horton will point out the various herbs, flowers and other pollinating plants that are grown along the patio located at the back of the Factory at Franklin near the Farmers Market location.

Horton became project leader of Urban Uprising in 2017, not long after he completed the Master Gardeners course and looked for ways to build points toward certification.

“I got tasked with bringing it along and making changes to it,” Horton said. “I pulled a lot of weeds out here.”

Urban Uprising was fully in bloom, so to speak, by the summer of 2018 and continued to take shape until the COVID-19 pandemic took hold last year. Master Gardeners interns developed individual or group gardens such as planting medicinal herbs, drought-tolerant gardens, or even theme gardens like a pizza or salsa garden.

The small-space gardens are steadily returning to pre-pandemic levels, and Horton said the lessons he is imparting to visitors who drop by are helping to make an impact. 

“There is more private gardening going on this year than there has been in decades,” he said, pointing out the increase of homeowners who are turning their whole yards into gardens.

“That’s the way to go,” Horton added. “You’re not going to get anything out of grass. It grows, you cut, it grows, you cut it. But a whole garden, you’re always getting vegetables and fruits out of it. It’s just a pleasure to have things you know you’ve grown from seeds.”

Click here to learn more about the Williamson County Master Gardener Association, and go here for more information on the Urban Uprising project.