This is one of those “feel good” stories featuring new beginnings, outstanding teamwork, realization of a dream and community commitment.The story has two special beginnings. First, a group of about 30 participants began the Texas AgriLife Master Gardener class on January 23 under the direction of Extension Agent Carolyn McDowell. In addition to the instructional material, participants are required to donate 50 hours of service to community gardening projects.The second beginning involves the development of a community garden at San Saba’s Senior Center. The garden is the brainchild of the late Linda Mixon who inspired a grant writing effort that won an LCRA grant. In addition to the grant, the project relies on the combined support of the City of San Saba, Keep San Saba Beautiful, the San Saba Garden Club, the Hill County Community Action Association and the Senior Center. The program was officially announced in an article Linda wrote which was published in the San Saba News on December 29, 2011. Carolyn chose the community garden as one of the locations where Master Gardener interns (MGIs) could fulfill their community service requirements. On Monday, April 9, the MGIs began their service by building a keyhole garden at the senior center. Using techniques described by keyhole gardening expert Dr. Deb Tolman, the MGIs hauled BIG PILES of materials to the site, chose a leader (Kate Beckes) and within a matter of hours created an exact replica of the keyhole garden Dr. Deb prescribed. The MGIs worked amazingly efficiently as they unloaded cement blocks donated by Tony Cantu of Barnes and McCullough. Then, the MGIs lined the cement structure with water-logged cardboard and used a layering technique to build up the “soil” with green matter, brown matter, twigs and paper. The layers were topped off by custom-blended compost contributed by MGI Travis Gage and potting soil donated by W. D. Carroll of San Saba Produce. The MGIs were treated to delicious refreshments provided by fellow classmates.Finally, the team created an herb garden. The herbs will be used by the cooks at the senior center to add zest to meals served at the Center and the Meals on Wheels lunches which are delivered to home-bound seniors. Most of the herbal plants were donated by David Butler of the Alco Store in San Saba.Although Linda was not visible on Monday afternoon, most of us believe she smiled gratefully from her heavenly home as she saw the first phase of her dream garden miraculously appear. It is, of course, terribly sad that Linda was not present to share the joy of this special occasion. But it’s heartening to know that the project she dreamed of is well on its way. City Manager Stan Weik (who’s also a Master Gardener Intern) said, “We’re really pleased the garden is coming together so beautifully. We will, of course, need a lot of help from the community to complete it in the way Linda envisioned. But, if everything goes as well as this undertaking, the garden will truly be a gift to our community, to all who contribute to it and to Linda’s memory.”If you’d like to help with the community garden by donating time, money, plants or ideas, please e-mail Joanne Weik at email@example.com. Or, if you want to be in the next Master Gardener class, please call Carolyn McDowell at 372.5416 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.