Thursday, September 28, 2023

Community Gardens

Winchester St Garden

Today I went to find a neighbourhood butcher where I bought something for dinner this evening. Coming home, I took a different route to explore some of the streets in the area. On the way I found a lovely garden beside a school. A sign explained the it was a project where the students planted and maintained the garden plots. As it was late in the gardening season the plants were not at their best, but I could still imagine how it would have been lovely in season. Wanting to explore the garden I walked around the fence to find the entrance. There was a nice sign welcoming me to the garden which looked to be written by the students. BUT, there was no entrance and actually a sign warning me that I was not allowed into the garden. I was welcome, but it seemed only to view from outside the fence. 
Not really welcome however

Spending 30 years in education I reasoned that because the garden was maintained by the students, for safety reasons the public was not actually welcomed to the garden or perhaps they were worried about vandalism, which was a shame since it looked like an inviting space and I would have liked to explore the garden. In fact, since the students were out playing on the schoolyard next door, and none of them were in the garden it seemed that even the students were not allowed to enjoy their garden. Kind of a shame I thought.

All about the school garden

The school

Not really welcome

It would have been nice to visit

A real "community" garden

Then a block or two away I discovered another community garden with the exact opposite approach. This one was open and accessible by anyone, with paths wandering through the raised beds of plants. I wandered through this garden and saw signs inviting the public to pick anything they wanted. Again, as the gardening season is really over, there was no much there to actually pick, but there were still green tomatoes waiting to ripen, and the seed beans had been allowed to mature freely. This one looked to be a real “community” garden enjoyed and shared by anyone. 

Two vastly different approaches to neighbourhood gardens. 

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