Re: garden rules
- Subject: [cg] Re: garden rules
- From: Don Boekelheide email@example.com
- Date: Tue, 6 Jan 2004 10:48:19 -0800 (PST)
Good to hear from you, I remember you from composting
days. Like you, apparently, I've moved from composting
training to community gardening - though I still work
very closely with Waste Reduction and our 'PLANT"
program (waste and toxics reduction through home
composting, ecological landscaping, organic gardening,
etc.). Looks like you might be in a similar boat, if
not exactly the same. Anyway, hope you are doing well.
We have a somewhat similar risk here, though no
complaints (yet). We've tried to head off by:
- Assigning highly visible 'border' plots to skilled
gardeners (demonstration beds by the garden
coordinator, master gardeners, etc.) whose beds look
- Being mindful of appearances when initially
designing gardens. This includes taking care to do
things like ornamental plantings along fencelines,
making a nice sign when possible, adding art to
gardens, and thinking through pathway design.
- Using front areas as demonstrations for native
plants as ornamentals (alternatives to invasives like
privet and Elaeagnus ('Russian olive'), butterfly and
habitat gardens, etc. A National Wildlife Federation
sign and other 'nature trail' signage works wonders.
- Being sure to host public classes at garden sites,
such as composting and environmentally friendly home
- Getting to know the immediate neighbors and trying
to include them and stay on friendly terms.
- Being ready for the occasional rabid Dittohead who
equates community _anything_ with a commie threat. The
best response to this is lots of friends and a good
- Within each garden, rules for garden appearance are
quite open, based on reason and common sense, and
sustained by the group. If something looks really
gross (nothing has yet), out it would go, especially
if it threatened the existence of the entire garden.
All that said, I've very sympathetic to the issue you
face. We have many fewer and smaller community gardens
than you do at this point, and only one sponsored
directly by a public agency (the park and recreation
department in the town of Cornelius). Some attempts to
start community gardens under county Park and Rec here
have been torpedoed by the leadership of 'neighborhood
associations' bordering parks, who, though far from
the garden site, fear it would attract 'those people'.
So, at least here, you've got to start working in the
community first, educating, educating, educating...
You know this already, I'll bet.
Anyway, have the art critic for your local paper come
do a piece on the pickup truck caps as an assemblage
of found objects, then sell 'em for $1000 a pop. Might
btw, I really like the yearlong lease idea. We use it
here. I've been encouraging people to cover crop over
the winter. That keeps beds green (and nutrients from
leaching and topsoil from eroding and weeds
suppressed), plus, if you use say crimson clover, it
is beautiful in the spring.
Best of luck to you, good to see your name again,
> From: Cary Oshins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> To: Community garden Listserv
> Date: Tue, 6 Jan 2004 12:11:57 -0500
> Subject: [cg] garden rules
> I'm not sure this list is still active. I certainly
> haven't received
> anything in a while.
> I manage about 200 plots in two gardens for our
> garden program in Lehigh
> County, PA. Two years ago we switched from seasonal
> plots to year-round
> plots. Under the seasonal system, all fencing,
> stakes, etc were removed
> every fall, the whole garden tilled, and plots
> remarked each spring. Last
> year was the first full year under the new system.
> New the gardeners can
> keep their fencing, raised beds, etc, plus they can
> get much sooner in the
> spring then under the old system. In general the
> gardeners are happy.
> One of the issues that has arisen is the appearance
> of the plots over the
> winter. One of the gardens in quite visible from a
> busy road, and one of
> our commissioners has received a few complaints
> about the unkempt
> appearance. The gardener right on the corner has an
> old pickup truck cap he
> uses to store supplies under, and has received
> specific complaints. I do
> not want to try to get into regulating aesthetics,
> however, my boss says we
> have to do something. Does anyone out there have an
> example of a workable
> rule that addresses this?
> Many thanks,
> Cary Oshins
> Composting Specialist
> Lehigh County Office of Solid Waste
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