Monday, July 11, 2011

Community Gardens

Community gardens are a source of inspiration for me. As with everything else in my life, I take an eclectic approach to gardening. All those design principles about large groupings of a few kinds of plants are lost on me. In fact gardens like that usually make me hyperventilate because I feel like my mere presence is messing up the aesthetic.

On the flip side, eclectic spaces make me feel like I have little fireworks displays going on in all five of my senses. Community gardens, especially large ones are by their nature eclectic growing spaces because they represent the ideas of all the different people involved in the project. People work both independently and are influenced by each other because of the communal nature of the space, so there's a great balance of individual expression and cohesive design.

My favorite community garden is the Dowling Community Garden in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis. It's a large garden so there is a lot of opportunity to be inspired by all the different things going on in the many plots. It's an amazing feeling to be surrounded by that many plants in the middle of high summer.

This garden was started as a victory garden during World War II, so it's got a great history of people coming together for a good cause.  I love to think of today's urban hipster farmers as the heirs of Rosie the Riveter and her friends.

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