Community Garden, Brooklyn Heights
Trainings are provided in pruning and care of shrubs, roses, brambles, and fruit trees, propagation and care of herbaceous perennials, biennials, and self-sowing annuals, construction of stone walls and stepping stone paths, soil development, and hugelkultur. Gardeners are encouraged to share from personal geographic and ethnic background experiences and to learn from each other.
A thriving community garden is in the making on
a small wedge of public land sitting by a highway off-ramp and challenged by silty, rubbly soil and fast-growing, water-hogging canopy trees.
Member-gardeners have been led and guided
since 2001 in designing, shaping, building,
and planting this garden, and in working together to care for the whole of it from its tallest trees to
the life in its soil.
Allowing for areas of differing character, habitat type, and management strategy make the garden seem larger than its 2500 sq. ft. A "Little House," designed and built by member-gardeners to serve as a storage shed, transforms it into a scaled-down home landscape.
The soil is amended and continually mulched with compost produced on site, leaves and cut-up twigs from
the garden's trees, mineral blends, manures, and locally sourced dried wrack grasses.
Plants are selected for their edible/medicinal/practical properties, habitat value, and care requirements and positioned for efficient use of sunlight and root zone.
Self-sowing, easily propagated, and quick spreading plant species are enlisted to fill difficult spaces and add surprises.
Native and naturalized plants are joined with old-fashioned ornamentals to maximize gardening opportunities as
well as ecological biodiversity.
The sloping ground is shaped and variously retained to capture rain, hold soil-moisture, prevent erosion, and make for pleasant experiences. Plans for an irrigation system and water collection are in the works.
Broken slabs of curbstone, fragment of concrete, large and small rocks, and cobblestones, all found either on site or on nearby construction sites, are used to make retaining walls, steps, paths, and punctuating features.
Walkways and spaces of soft earthen ground, a luxury in urban settings, are maximized.