Union Gospel Mission is a shelter for 300 persons, primarily women and children. At any one time there could be 20 to 60 children in residence.
When you enter the main building to access the garden areas you pass the Deborah Hall Memorial Chapel and walk down a hallway lined with paintings by Denver Moore. Both Deborah and Denver are well known from the book Same Different As Me which portrays the journey that brought them together at the mission.
Gay Larson has been the project lead since 1997 the same year she became a Master Gardener. Gay took an empty six acre area and turned it into a luscious and verdant garden with numerous beds and seating areas. There is a playground for the children as well as a vegetable garden which helps to provide food for the kitchen.
Under Gay's tutelage the Master Gardeners have designed and planted 12 flower beds, created a herb garden, built a 20 x 20 vegetable garden, painted a play house, decorated for holidays, painted doors, railings and window boxes, built a deck, pruned trees and shrubs, built copper trellises, espaliered crabapple trees, built a 40â€™ dry creek bed, taught classes to the residents, worked with Boy Scout groups, designed and printed coloring books for the children and made Union Gospel Mission a safe, desirable, and attractive place to live for the homeless.
In 2007 Gay designed three rose gardens with 30 rose varities and signage for each category. Tarrant County Juveniles who get community service have helped throughout the years to build garden beds and walkways. They have moved tables and benches and mulched beds, planted trees and helped build a French drain.
Workdays are Monday mornings. Each week Gay prepares a 30 minute horticulture lesson for the master gardeners pertaining to what they are doing and answer questions about gardening that pertain to the seasons of the year. Over the past twelve years approximately 105 master gardeners have helped in some capacity and 8 to 12 faithful Master Gardeners come every Monday morning to make the mission a safe and beautiful place to live.