Recently we received a letter in the mail from The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. It didn’t look like it was about membership (we are members!). We tore it open to find that W Rockland Street had won two prizes in PHS’s annualCity Gardens Contest, which gives Philadelphians recognition for their “dedicated and imaginative gardening skills.” Go W Rockland Street!
We’ve been thinking a lot about the impact of greening the neighborhood, with the recent murder on W Rockland Street in mind. Read on for a look at the PHS honors and our thoughts on crime and urban gardening in Philadelphia.
2nd Place: COMMUNITY GARDEN COMBINATION
The Rockland Street Community Garden was awarded Second Prize in the Community Garden Combination category for first-year community gardens with both vegetables and flowers. This is a big achievement for the block and all the residents and volunteers that helped to transform the long-neglected vacant lot into an urban garden and gathering space. Located at 15 W Rockland at the top of the block, the garden is home to 13 raised garden beds (lucky number!), a melon and climbing vine patch, a compost bin, a floral garden, and jungle gym for kids. We broke ground and built this space on April 16, 2012 during the 4th annual Philly Spring Cleanup (learn more about the project), and its been growing and evolving ever since. One thing to note! We don’t own this land, but we transformed the eyesore anyway.
Here’s what the judges said:
“The garden has a colorfully inviting entrance and neatly laid out raised beds inside with a space set aside for socializing. It is clearly meeting its mission of creating community through horticulture. Impressive that this community has come together to build a garden on an abandoned lot. A credit to the garden creators!”