13 Jan 2011

looking closely

A long view of the garden along Hill Street.

A long view of the garden along Hill Street.

There is a humble garden outside of our studio space in Chinatown. I remember when it was just a patch of gravel and dirt next to a busy stretch of Hill Street, right off the freeway. A few ladies in the neighborhood saw something else—potential.

A little less than a year ago, I began to notice changes to the sliver of land abutting the chain link fence. First, in one corner a small compost pile appeared. Over time it got bigger and over time it smelled less like rotting things and more like earth. The ladies tended to this earth, turning over the soil, adding compost, turning over the soil again. Soon large sheets of cardboard, held down by heavy rocks, appeared on top of the soil. Presumably underneath them, seeds were germinating because within weeks the cardboard disappeared and the garden contained its first seedlings.

At first glance, this garden may not seem like much. Yet, because I have the opportunity to see this patch of green each day I begin to notice and engage with the garden’s details. Here is some of what I see.

A pea blossom climbs the chain link fence.

A pea blossom climbs the chain link fence.

Lettuce in various states of maturity

Lettuce in various states of maturity

What I presume is a water collection and storage system

What I presume is a water collection and storage system

Broccolini? Chinese Broccoli?

Broccolini? Chinese Broccoli?

Bees!

Bees!