Community Gardens are increasingly commonplace. A wonderful addition to modern city life, they bring pleasure to everyone. In Toronto, the community allotment gardens in the heart of High Park are much sought after and much admired. On our own street in Toronto, between the fence of our local parkette and the city sidewalk, some unknown neighbours have planted bulbs and perennials we all enjoy. Behind the Lillian H. Smith Public Library, south of College Street, there is a large formal garden maintained by the local community.
There are community gardens on the hydro easements in Scarborough, and entire lots set aside in downtown Vancouver for gardeners to cultivate and others to enjoy. If not to eat the produce or pick the flowers, the public can luxuriate in the growth of the plants and the beauty of the flowers.
There are three community gardens within five minutes of our West Vancouver apartment. The closest is not strictly a “community” garden as it is private property belonging to a large rental apartment building across the street from where we live. Shorewood’s Navvy Jack Gardens are located, however, beside the railroad tracks on the public access path to the Ambleside Seawalk and no one can miss the industry of the tenant gardeners nor the beauty and bounty of their labour.
In the seaside public park just down from us, there are two community gardens, called Argyle Green Gardens and Argyle Village Gardens after the street beginning with “A,” indicating that it is closest to the ocean. (All the streets running up the hill in this community are rather quaintly named in alphabetical order.) Argyle Village Gardens is a single lot between two of the original houses still occupied by long-time owners. In this area now designated for public parks, the city has the legal right to buy all the old properties along the seashore when they go on the market. Some of the old houses have been refurbished as public venues for workshops and event sites; others have been taken down and the properties integrated into the adjacent park. Where the lots stand solitary between existing houses, they apparently become community gardens. What a wonderful use of space!
The Argyle Green Gardens are a new creation, a series of raised plant beds built expressly for community gardeners as part of a park upgrade, a couple of years ago. They have been installed in an area close to the street where before there was only plain grass field. Since there is plenty of vacant lawn elsewhere in the park, this is a welcome innovation. I wouldn’t be surprised if many more such raised planter boxes appear in the future. We’ll see.