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Minneapolis: First annual parade of community gardens thisSaturday

  • Subject: [cg] Minneapolis: First annual parade of community gardens thisSaturday
  • From: Don Boekelheide dboekelheide@yahoo.com
  • Date: Thu, 17 Aug 2006 17:37:35 -0700 (PDT)

August 16, 2006

Residents gather to work in, tour community gardens
By Elizabeth Cook

Parade of Community Gardens
WHAT: Wander through more than 50 community gardens
throughout the Twin Cities. 
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, August 19, 2006
WHERE: Show up at the Como Garden of your choice and a
representative will assist you. 
For more information: www.gardenworksMN.com

<PHOTO>Davis Isom, 1, looks at flowers with his
mother, Marge, on Tuesday in the community garden on a
corner of 22nd Avenue Southeast and Como Avenue
Southeast. Marge said Davis shows a great interest in
flowers and that she thinks her son will grow up to be
a botanist.>

Volunteers were in the Southeast Como neighborhood
Saturday morning to clean up corner gardens in
preparation for the first annual Parade of Community
Gardens tour through Minneapolis that will take place

Susanne Maeder, a Southeast resident who helped start
the garden in fall 1992, worked in the garden at 22nd
Avenue Southeast and Como Avenue that morning.

Maeder said the area used to be all crab grass with
two bars taking up the other corners until residents
started transplanting flowers from their own gardens
to the patch of land.

Now there is support from the Southeast Como
Improvement Association, with a community gardener on
staff and nurseries that donate their own supplies,
making the gardens stand out in the neighborhood.

Currently, with the train bridge construction along
Como taking up part of the garden, there aren't as
many people wandering through the curving woodchip
paths or relaxing on one of the tree stumps set up
like chairs.

Maeder is hopeful that with the Parade of Gardens,
more people will realize it's not a construction site
- even though it's surrounded by orange and white
striped roadblocks and machinery - but a place to
relax and take in nature.

"We're trying to give people an awareness of how many
little places there are," Maeder said.

Christopher Duba, a custodian for the University and a
Como resident, said he's seen the garden but never has
seen anyone actually admiring it.

"I think it's like a bus stop," he said. "I don't even
know if anyone hangs there."

Farther down the street at 15th Avenue Southeast and
Como Avenue Southeast sits the Accord Community
Garden, which got its name from the wind chime
sculpture it sits in front of.

In the fall of 1992, with the help of local residents,
the corner of 22nd Avenue Southeast and Como Avenue
Southeast began transforming from a vacant lot filled
with crab grass into a beautiful garden.
Vilma Stragyte, a sociology senior, said she's never
noticed the smaller corner garden next to a bus stop
and at the edge of Van Cleve Park with the small
yellow geraniums, bluestem grass and blazing stars.
"I wouldn't consider it a garden," she said.

Even though this isn't a garden in her eyes, she said
she likes that volunteers are trying to make things
more aesthetically pleasing for residents.

"It totally brings up the mood," she said.

Rosanne Gronseth, a Master Gardener for the University
Extension Service, Hennepin County said the gardens
create a better atmosphere in the community.

"I think that it just enhances the quality of life,"
she said.

Gronseth said the floral decorations also increase
surrounding property values and develop a sense of

The last stop on the garden tour will be the Gateway
Garden, at the corner of 12th Avenue Southeast and
Hennepin Avenue East.

Sam Benson, a resident for two years in the
neighborhood, said he thinks it's "awesome" that
volunteers are putting time into gardens for everyone.

"It's something that's the opposite of ugly to look
at," he said.

Benson said if he had more time, it's something he
would help take care of, or at least look at more.

"I've wanted to just go down there and sit before, but
I really haven't had the time," he said.

The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org

To post an e-mail to the list:  community_garden@mallorn.com

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