By Thea Hassan:
Trinity Place, between South Elmwood and Virginia Street, is a patient gem of a block, just waiting to be discovered. Every time I walk down it, it seems to be a little happier, a little brighter- perhaps because of the colorful wooden stars that now adorn it.
The wooden stars showed up last winter. Instead of letting the community garden disappear beneath the snow, the Virginia-Edward-Trinity-Tupper-Elmwood Block Club (VETTE, pronounced Vetty), that manages the garden (along with support from Grassroots Community Gardens) decided to decorate. It wasn’t long before the colorful wooden stars started popping up on the houses. As part of the “Beautiful Committee” holiday plan, HM and Jim Bateman hosted a workshop for those in VETTE who were interested in making stars of their own.
“Most of the boxes on people’s houses (lead photo) were made at that workshop,” the Batemans wrote in an email.
Though they say the boxes are easy to build, they won’t divulge the process.
“You’ll have to come to a VETTE light box-building workshop.”
The property on which the garden rests is owned by Mr. Luis Clay, a member of VETTE and a “bon vivant and an all-around good guy,” according to the Batemans. After a house burnt down on the property, a vacant lot remained for 30 years before Clay claimed ownership.
The community garden is part of Grassroots Garden, an organization that VETTE teamed up with initially for the insurance coverage and technical and material support, but it turned into much more than that.
“We are willing to blather at length about how great the people at Grassroots Gardens are, what a positive they are for the city, their abiding sense of community, etc. Just say the word. Without them and Luis the garden would not exist,” the Batemans wrote.
The garden boxes which house the veggies and flowers are made from lumber from Allegany County, and designed in a facade scheme that the Batemans brought back from their Allegany County house. They filled the boxes with compost from Delaware and Amherst Riding stables, often during the spring rainstorms.
Last year, VETTE members each had their own box, but this year there will be a communal set up. Vegetables in the garden ranged from basil, tomatoes, cucumber, broccoli, eggplant, pole and bush beans, carrots, Brussel sprouts, kale, romaine and leaf lettuce, Swiss chard, arugula, and squash, in addition to the 4 boxes of flowers.
“We also received donations of flowers from GrassRoots (Gardens) and Zittel’s Nursery, which were planted around the borders of the houses that abut the garden, and distributed to folks at the Hispanics United Center,” wrote the Batemans.
Last year, VETTE held 5 events at the garden: a VETTE block club party, a Welcome Party for the bicyclists of the “Tour de Farm,” a block club garage sale, and two holiday tree decorating parties.
There is a fund raising event this Saturday at Neitzche’s for the community garden. For just five dollars, you can enjoy great music, comedy, poetry, and help with the beautification efforts of the neighborhood.
The event will be held Sunday, March 25 from 3 to 6 pm at Nietzsche’s, 248 Allen Street. The event will be headlined by the unique musical talents of The Stamplickers, and feature professional comedian Tim Joyce, pianist and singer Annie Philippone, award-winning poet Celia White, and the acoustic melodies of Joe Rozler.
See you there!