Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Surprise Garden and how it got that way on East 14th Street


EVG reader Arrow Zelasnic contributed the following story and photos ...

This sidewalk slab size garden gives a whole new meaning to the words "vacant lot". Here is how it came to be.

The City cut down a tree in a tree well on the 14th St. side of Campos Plaza between Ave C & B. Not surprisingly, it got filled with various organic and inorganic trash.

Surprisingly, Tom, a resident of Campos Plaza, began planting and tending it for no reason. Tom passed away some time ago. Surprisingly again, Laurie, a resident of the brownstone row at the end of the block, adopted it. In the center are two sunflowers which are about to bloom, surrounded by an English Garden in a tree well. She calls it the Surprise Garden and so it is.


The garden is tended by a loose coalition of neighbors. On another day I met Lisa, a Campos resident, bikeriding with her dog. They were working on installing a fence.

The horticultural philosophy of Laurie and the Surprise Gardeners is leave no millemeter unplanted. This creates the colorful lushness that delights passers-by. It also discourages dog walkers and slobs.

Not surprizing in New York the idea is not fool-proof and it requires lots of upkeep to look so good. And water. Here is a photo of Laurie with the water bottles that she carried down the block.


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10 comments:

pinhead said...

Great story! From all of us that wish we had green thumbs, thanks "Surprise Gardeners" for all the hard work!

Anonymous said...

Lovely!!
Melanie

Anonymous said...

This is such a wonderful story. Thank you to the amazing people who created and take care of this lovely little garden. It's nice to hear stories like this about our neighbors and our neighborhood. Thank you, EV, for sharing it!

Marty Wombacher said...

What a cool story! Thanks to Arrow for writing it and taking the photos. Great post, EVG!

Anonymous said...

I pass this garden every day and love it, one of the sunflowers is blooming! One small fix, Tom lived in the brownstone row where Laurie lives.

Goggla said...

Liz Christy would be proud. :)

Gojira said...

Wish we had more people like this in the neighborhood, and less of the flaming arseholes.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I think you recently said you liked weeds:

http://evgrieve.com/2012/08/todays-quiz-how-tall-will-weeds-in-east.html

I thought when I first read your comment that weeds must now be considered the landscape analog of hipster bed hair. But seriously, maintaining a planting as nice as this is more thankless work than most would ever take on. KM

Anonymous said...

Beautiful in many ways- from the lovely flowers to the lovely people who tend to this little gem.

Enzo's Mama said...

I feel very lucky to live on East 6th between A and B where several of these have popped up this summer, on the south side of the block. They're so pretty and I assume they're the work of both the Creative Little Garden people, in the case of the picket fence one, and perhaps the building with the stunning backyard closer to A/ConEd (not sure of the exact address) in the case of the other two. Appreciation in droves to these anonymous neighbors!