March 9, 2007

City Natives

Update on the Garden Meeting: The meeting went surprisingly well. There were about 30 people there which was more than I was expecting given the cooooold weather.

1) Natives vs. a "Rose Garden" - I am pleased to announce that natives won hands down. There was virtually no one who was interested in any other idea. Yippee. We agreed on a general shape and size for the area and now we need a committee to help figure out the details.

2) Garden Shed - This was the most controversial aspect of the meeting. The Steering Commitee had started to worry about the initial idea of building something from scratch due to the cost and specialized skill needed to pull it off and one member started looking into "compromise" options so that we could still do some sort of community "barn raising"but, maybe not need to spend as much time or money to get what we need. Heck, we need a shed already. There was some concern about this option and how sad it is if we really can't do it from scratch. The group was split over just getting it done at a lower cost with some community input vs. doing it from scratch. I just don't know that we have anyone in the neighborhood with the skills required who is willing to put in the time we'd need. Regardless we are gonna have a shed (and it will be made of wood and designed just for us) and that is exciting.

There were a few angry neighbors at the meeting but, we managed to appease them after a while and there were lots of new people who seem very willing to help out.

March 6, 2007

Welcome to the Neighborhood

Tonight is a big Community Garden meeting where we will discuss some pretty controversial topics like work hours, a garden shed, a natural plantings area and dog poo.

Our garden has a lot of space beyond the garden plots and was designed as a "multi-use" area for the community. Its basically like a small park in the middle of the neighborhood and everyone has some opinion about how it should look. The natural plantings area caused a stir last year (with a petition and everything) so it could be an eventful night. The issue is about the look and height of what we plant. Native plants and flowers tend not to be as pretty and neat as a rose garden but, they are a really cool thing to have in an urban area. The battle will likely be among the "lovely manicured garden" camp and the "wild and natural" camp. Plus there will be a contingent who just want it all to be grass so they can kick a ball and run around unencumbered.

It is amazing how heated this stuff can get. Before last summer there was all out war over whether or not to have a designated dog park in the garden - thus the controversy over the dog poo that's been littering the perimeter. I have agreed to run the meeting. Most of my co-Committee members think I'm crazy to volunteer for such a job. Its a good kind of crazy I think. I'm up for it.

Honestly though, its about 4 degrees outside and feels like -17 so there's a good chance that very few people will come to the meeting which means we won't get input but, also means we can't (in theory) be blamed for going forward with the best options available since we invited people to participate. It's seriously hard to get people to think about gardening when its dark and cold outside.