Upham's Corner Online

Virginia Monadnock Gardeners Meet and Clean, 8/4/12

On Saturday, August 4, 2012, gardeners and neighbors held a meeting at the Virginia Monadnock Community Garden at 3pm and afterwards worked on sprucing up the garden common areas, leaving their plots to be tended at a later date.

Common areas included the sidewalk in front, the patio, lawn and play area in front and the walkways around the garden plots. 

While the garden is routinely maintained, it doesn’t take long for the toughest wild growth (otherwise known as weeds) to crop up everywhere, especially between patio blocks and along walkways.  Of course, the grass needed mowing as well.  

The gardeners worked hard, accomplished a lot and just as they were about to call it a good day’s work, a peal of thunder applauded their efforts.

"Good job," they said to each other, only to be reminded:  "Until next week when the undergrowth returns again with revenge."

Group Meeting Held

The gardeners discussed the (Golden) Garden Rules (10 of them) established by Boston Natural Areas Network (BNAN) who owns the garden.  To see the BNAN Gardening Rules, click here: Gardening Rules.

They discussed and agreed on the conept of a gardener in "good standing" as one who follows the rules consistently. The basic idea is that garden plots need to be actively used and tended. Members owe it to the group and the neighborhood to participate in an appropriate number of meetings, group cleanups and/or other activities beneficial to the garden property.  Lacking this basic participation, the garden plot should be assigned to someone on the waiting list who is willing to follow garden rules.

More than that, the garden is a set of plots and common area.  Gardeners are also asked to proactively maintain the common areas, participate in garden clean up days and group meetings.

Those attending pretty much agreed with this policy. At the same time, they have not opted to "vote" or otherwise deem a gardener "out" for not being in good standing. However, they noted that there are some gardeners who have not yet helped out in the common areas, which is unfair to the active members, and the neighboring community.

Leadership and Outreach

Passing on or otherwise redistributing the responsibilities of the Garden Administrator/Coordinator was also discussed. One member suggested that many of the tasks for this position could be divided by Row, with one "Captain" or "Contact Person" for each Row, so that one . There are 4 Rows of plots in the Garden, and Caroline has volunteered to take on that task for Row 2. Wendy has volunteered to take on Row 4. The group also needs a member who is fluent in Cape Verde Creole, and English, to enhance communication within the group, perhaps translating or interpreting as needed.

There are many community gardens in Boston, but they are not evenly distributed within the city. Some neighborhoods have hardly any green space at all.

All of the members of the Virginia Monadnock Community Garden (VMCG) are Boston residents, most within easy walking distance of the Garden. All current Garden members live in Dorchester or in parts of Boston which border Dorchester, living less than 2.5 miles from the Garden itself. Proximity to the immediate neighborhood has never been a requirement of any of the BNAN Community Gardens.

Progress Noted

This Summer, BNAN helped the Garden by pruning a number of trees which have been shading many of the plots, then chipping the tree limbs which had filled the compost plot. Members Jonathan Quinn and Alvin Case have begun building improved composting bins, intending a separate bin for each Row's compost, and two bins for leaves to be converted to mulch. Ultimately, this will reduce the amount of trash that gets put out at the curb, and will make this Garden more sustainable.

Jennifer Watkins added bamboo screening to the Utility Gate, so that the trash cans behind the gate will be less distracting from the green foliage and colorful flowers.

The gardeners will be meeting with Joanne Tuller from the Uphams Corner Westside Neighborhood Association (UCWNA) regarding any issues that group may have about how the garden is managed.

Additional meetings and group cleanups are scheduled for mid-September and mid-October.

Do You Want a Garden Plot?

The procedure for getting a BNAN Community Garden plot is outlined on BNAN's website:  http://www.bostonnatural.org/cgFind.htm
Or you may call them directly at  617-542-7696.  Alternatively, contact a garden member about your interest, providing adequate contact information (Name, mailing address, phone and email address if available).

Photos taken by Nancy Conrad

Virginia Monadnock Gardeners Meet & Clean
  Debris and clutter
Virginia Monadnock Gardeners Meet & Clean
  "Award winning" patio
Virginia Monadnock Gardeners Meet & Clean
  Nice seating area after cleaning
Virginia Monadnock Gardeners Meet & Clean
  Beautiful yard seen from street
Virginia Monadnock Community Garden
Virginia Monadnock Community Garden

Virginia Monadnock Community Garden  

  Virginia Monadnock Community Garden
Virginia Monadnock Community Garden
Virginia Monadnock Community Garden

Posted: August 28, 2012     Nancy Conrad

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