Georgia Ave Garden
Georgia Avenue Garden
This bright spot on the corner of Georgia and New Lots Avenues is both a working garden providing food for the community and an attractive green space for all its visitors to enjoy. A gazebo sits beside a small arbor with a bench facing away from the street. Roses and a grapevine climb up its sides. There is an herb garden, two picnic tables, and composting facilities. Raspberry canes and honeysuckle fill the beds facing New Lots Avenue, while the back wall of the garden is planted with diverse trees from ornamental cherry to evergreens to an elegant white birch. There are raised vegetable beds containing eggplant, corn, cucumbers, and many other edibles. The variety of plantings allows the garden to maximize the growing season, with flowers, fruits, and vegetables ripening and overlapping from early spring until late fall.
A mural, painted in the summer of 1998, covers the back wall of the garden in bright colors. Local children designed and painted the mural with the help of artist Claudia Keel from the Green Guerillas, the non-profit community group active in the New York City community gardens movement in the 1970s. The mural depicts a blossoming community garden, filled with plots of vegetables, flowers, a pond, and industrious gardeners. A painted birch rises behind the living one mirroring and extending the garden.
Georgia Avenue Garden shows what concerted action on the part of a neighborhood can achieve even with very limited resources. In less than 1,612 square feet, local residents have cultivated a garden that is innovative and attractive enough to have won honorable mention as Best Community Garden twice.
In 1988, Michael Moody and James Worth began the campaign to open as a community garden this area that was then a vacant lot. With the help of GreenThumb, a governmental group that helps community gardens, they succeeded in opening the lot in 1992 and soon began the work of landscaping and cultivation. The Georgia Avenue Garden became Parks property in August 1998. The assignment was part of a deal transferring more than 36 GreenThumb gardens to Parks. This protects the status of the garden, but leaves nearly all of the responsibility for maintenance and development in the hands of the community.