In September 2009, I started working on a project for the Dream Center in downtown Los Angeles. It’s been a long road, gathering grant money and donated supplies, but the Dream Garden is shaping up to be a fine reality for the residents of the Dream Center.
Today a team of about 15 people planted the first batch of transplants into the garden. The excitement was palpable as we placed plants in each bed, according to a diagram I made early last year. Smiles grew wider as the scent of cilantro, rosemary and other herbs went into the ground. Recipes for sauteed Swiss chard and kale were exchanged over the raised beds.
The new strawberry bed will provide the Dream Center with fresh fruit all season long.
To help attract beneficial insects to the garden, we planned out 4 raised beds of herbs and beneficial flowers. With mint as a centerpiece (in a pot to prevent spreading) the herbs will provide color and fragrance to the garden as well.
More herbs are on the way later this month.
Overall, the garden is coming along nicely. Our next step is to install the flagstone pathway and a few more fruit trees. A composting system will also be built at the base of the garden to turn all the garden waste (and some of the Dream Center kitchen waste) into compost for the raised beds. The residents are all so excited to have a place to grow some of their own food.
Still to come, flagstone pathways and mulch everywhere else. The fruit trees planted last year are starting to leaf out, just in time for the gals to enjoy the garden.
The process of building this garden, entirely with volunteer effort and either donations or at-cost discounts, has given me a chance to see how healing gardening can be. The residents have come to the Dream Center from harsh living situations (I can’t talk about it here, for the safety of those involved) to recover and refocus their lives. You wouldn’t think that planting vegetables could help accomplish these goals, but I’m witnessing it as it happens.
The strange thing is that Gardenerd sent out about 40 press releases to local media folks in hopes that someone would want to cover this heartfelt story. We have yet to hear from a single person.
Headline: Broken Souls find Healing Through Gardening.
Sounds like a good story, doesn’t it?