Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Corwin Community Garden

In San Francisco guerilla gardens are everywhere. Empty lots get converted to thriving green spaces by neighborhood activists who grow tired of watching weeds take over and become fire hazards. I'm always amazed at the willingness of ordinary folks to put in back-breaking labor and every spare minute to create gorgeous gardens for all residents to enjoy. Their generosity of spirit inspires neighbors to join them in an effort that fosters community stewardship and radiates with civic pride.

Check out Corwin Community Garden to see what I mean. In the netherworld between the Castro and Noe Valley, at the north end of Douglass Street where Corwin begins, perched above the famous (infamous?) Steward Park Slides, neighbors fought to save one remaining lot for open space as developers filled the hillside with apartment houses. After winning the battle, the lot stood vacant and choked with weeds until local residents took matters into their own hands by planting a garden on the steep slope.

Serene and lush, the garden is a surprisingly quiet respite in an utterly urban setting. Spectacular views of downtown and the city's northern edge are visible from the rustic bench near the top. Plants and trees of varying height have been introduced that provide color and texture without blocking site lines. All are draught-tolerant so need little water.

Bill Murphy who gazes at the garden from his kitchen window has led the transformation of the site over many years. He talks fondly of every plant and tree, knowing the history of each. Bill dreams of planting an orchard in the space between the garden and the slides. His goal is to provide fresh fruit for folks in the neighborhood and to just give away. He's on a quest to gather resources he needs for this venture. If you think you can help, let me know (in Comments below) and I'll pass the word on to Bill.

Cris Carlsson has also written about the garden on foundsf:


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