22 Jun 2011

(not so) secret garden

I have been having a hard time editing down the images for this post, so I’ve decided to make it a two-parter based on subject. This first post documents another Chinatown vegetable garden, and the second, will document a decorative one.

Portions of both newly observed gardens, vegetable patch in the foreground and decorative plantings on the distant balcony.

Portions of both newly observed gardens, vegetable patch in the foreground and decorative plantings on the distant balcony.

I have already written once about how much I enjoy observing shifts and changes in the garden tended right outside our studio door. For me that narrow strip of vegetables has become an inspiring reminder that one can bring beauty and productivity to an otherwise disused and overlooked place.

The patch pictured is located at the back of a parking lot. Until last week, the thriving garden had escaped my notice. This relative isolation also protects it from pedestrian looters, dogs and traffic, however, giving the growers reason to invest more time in infrastructure. These support systems—and the materials and methods used to make them—are the subject of many of my images.

Pieces of an iron security gate, sticks and shoelaces become trellis.

Pieces of an iron security gate, sticks and shoelaces become trellis.

Wooden parking block becomes edging

Wooden parking block becomes edging

Concrete block becomes planter.

Concrete block becomes planter.

There are moments where one finds it difficult to distinguish between nature and intervention, such as the similarity between a squash blossom and plastic tie.

Or between the pre-existing and the adaptation.

Wire hangers share the shape and material of chain link fence.

Wire hangers share the shape and material of chain link fence.

Line, shadow and mortar become one.

Line, shadow and mortar become one.

For me, green spaces like this one become a metaphor about life in Los Angeles. What is “beautiful” here defies convention and appears in the most unlikely places.