Here are three highlights of my recent adventures in California visiting community gardens from Sacramento to the Bay area:
Sacramento: There are waiting lists four and five years long to get into some of the gardens and if you visit, you’ll see why. The pride and care that goes into the city’s Parks and Recreation community gardens is evident in the upkeep, the design and the spirited innovation.
There are fruit trees growing, individual gardener plots, even a small vineyard (It is California after all!) and artful ways of conserving water and engaging gardeners. For example, a sculpted cistern shaped like a ladybug collects water from giant metal flower basins. This is just one of many artful touches.
Santa Rosa: A bilingual garden at the Bayer Community Farm with signage in Spanish and English. This is a welcoming space with garden plots, a large area with a dozen colorful picnic tables, a labyrinth and a teepee trellis house for children. The garden space accommodates young and older with raised beds designed for people with disabilities. One of the nicest aspects of the garden is that it is adjacent to a recreational space that was buzzing with activity as neighbors played sports, skated and rode bikes.
San Francisco: In most gardens your attention is drawn down to ground level where the vegetables, flowers and herbs grow. In Portero Hill Community Garden, located at the edge of a ridge, your eyes look up and out to see a breathtaking city scape. Perched on land that was once the abode of the goat lady of San Francisco, this is a striking garden and so well tended. The gardeners here love their spaces and it shows.
More to come….
BTW- Sacramento is agricultural zone 9. They plant tomatoes in March!