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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Community Garden - An Urban Oasis

Flower in Community Garden, Brooklyn
Photo by myself in a community garden in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

You can see some of the neighborhood townhouses in the background.


If New York didn't have its parks, tree-lined streets and community gardens, it would be a completely different place to live.

Rows upon rows of brownstones will suddenly give way to a fenced in block of wildflowers, carefully cultivated by the residents of the neighborhood. On site are tiny man made ponds, wisteria, vegetable gardens, stepping stones, bright orange poppies and garden gnomes. Everyone contributes to a composting pile that provides rich soil to new planting beds.

You pay yearly dues that go toward supplies. In the meantime, neighbors meet each other in the open air. They sit in lawn chairs and chat while children run around, giggling.

Sometimes in New York you can go on for years without meeting your neighbors. You might only hear the loud squawking of their television or the thud of footsteps overhead.

People often feel too vulnerable to meet their neighbors, since you never know what you might find - the 6'-6" linebacker in clogs above you would always have the advantage. Or perhaps it's the woman with the small ferocious dog below you, the family with little kids or the older couple in need of hearing aids.

In the neutral territory of a community garden, people let down their guard. You share planting tips, the garden hose, equipment. Gardeners are notorious for creating something out of nothing, so a generous spirit comes easily. One plant becomes three. A harvest rewards all with abundance.

I'll have to revisit the community garden near me soon. It was tough to take good photos with so much going on.


Related posts: The Cycle of Decay and Trees Do Grow in Brooklyn


Abraham Lincoln said...

Quite beautiful these flowers in bloom. Nice that their audience is in the millions growing in New York City.

Kitty said...

Thanks Mr Lincoln!

ananda.tashie said...

I like seeing nature being nurtured even among what is often considered cement and chaos. Lovely flowers and photo. :)

Kizz said...

Don't forget the Composting Toilet. One garden built a composting toilet you can use and even had a visit by the UN about it. I think you can find info about it on Clinton Hill Blog. I'm always afraid to go into the gardens. (Are you sensing a theme with my fears?) but I love to walk by them and see what's going on.

Olivier said...

c'est agréable à NYC, tous ces petits jardins communautaires. Celui que j'aime beaucoup (j'y passe toujours chaque année un petit moment) c'est dans Greenwich Village : Garden Of The Church Of St Luke.

it is pleasing to NYC, all these small community gardens. One that I like a lot (I always passes each year a little while) it is in Greenwich Village: The Garden Of Church Of St Luke.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Lovely photos Kitty, although spending time in the Carolinas this past weekend made me realise how sparse nature is in our corner of the world. There just didn't seem to be enough trees when I walked into work this morning :-)

Fredrik said...

Saturation is a great tool to get a more vivid picture. Here I think there's a little too much of it. The picture is a bit over-processed. But I like the composition and the lovely blur in the background!

Tammy said...

What a pretty picture. I love flowers, to the point where I have way too many flower beds for me to take care of.

Spandrel Studios said...

Irises are among my favorite flowers - so regal! - and you've captured these beautifully, Kitty.

Kitty said...

Welcome Ananda and thanks
I look forward to reading your blog

lol Kizz. Well, there is something wild and untamed about gardens. You never know what you'll find, like snakes and bugs.

Hi Olivier
I will have to check that one out! Here I thought they wouldn't spare real estate in the village.

Hi Fish
Welcome back! (woohoo!)

I agree, it can be a bit much. One really has to get out from the cement to nature.

Hi Fredrik
I'm so glad to get your feedback. The processing part is still a subtle and mysterious art. Next on my list is reading more about these little things like color adjustment. I can't wait!

Hi Tammy
Tending gardens is a bit of work, but it's so healthy for you.

Thanks Spandrel.
I love those flowers. They are so striking.

Ming the Merciless said...

Love the photo!! I always have a thing for photos with depth of field in them.