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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Liz Christy Community Garden

Sapsucker handiwork

Reflections of the City

Turtle pace in the city?

This weekend I had the pleasure of spending some time visiting the Liz Christy Community Garden at Bowery and Houston St in lower Manhattan, NYC. This garden is a symbol in many ways for New York City community gardeners. It was one of the first community gardens in Manhattan. It spawned the organization called the Green Guerillas and the idea of guerilla gardening - greening up vacant land without any formal permission. The original recipe for seed bombs happened came from the Liz Christy Garden. That idea has resurfaced in several incarnations. Artists, Like Joan Bankemper have created an Urban Guerilla Gardening Kit. Seed Bombs can be found for sale.
The garden's namesake, Liz Christy is considered one of the founding mothers of the community garden movement in NYC. The area surrounding the garden is now upscale. In fact new luxury housing was recently built directly adjacent to the garden. The garden was closed for some time and recently reopened.
There is beauty everywhere you look although the traffic on Houston Street is a continuous background noise and the ground vibrates every time a subway train rumbles by below the garden. Perhaps most exciting is the unexpected nature you can find if you look closely. I saw a black swallowtail butterfly, heard many songbirds, saw evidence of sap suckers , a turtle, and a pond (see pictures) and yes there were vegetables being grown. There are many ornamental plants, roses, irises and daylilies of all kinds and a beautiful 60 foot tall specimen of Dawn Redwood. Definitely worth a visit.

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