Planting at Sonia Sanchez Garden

Bianca: Resident gardening expert.

Anna: Camerawoman.

Shirley: Navigator.

Amount of time completed: 2 hours

Hiya, I’m Shirley Choi and this week’s writer!

Yesterday on October 1st, the Sonia Sanchez Garden was spruced up. Bianca, Anna, and I helped with de-weeding and planting tulip and daffodil bulbs. (Unfortunately, Layla couldn’t make it.)

The day started with meeting at the Tyler School of Art’s cafe at 1:30 PM. After relaxing for a bit, I led the way to the garden, which was on Diamond and Carlisle streets. It took about ten minutes to walk there.

First we saw a large, beautiful mural. But under it, a fence covered in weeds, rocks littered on the pathway, dead life everywhere… the space looked like a dump. Two girls from the Temple Community Garden were chilling on a bench. They told us that the other volunteers were having lunch.

Another girl named Anna arrived, and it turned out that she was from our Green vs Gray class too. She was here without her group.

A red-haired woman in a red Temple U. shirt showed up a few minutes later, and we introduced ourselves. After signing in, she discovered that we were all aspiring art students (ie, undecided, planning to transfer to art, etc), and talked to us about an art program they were planning to do. We agreed to help and exchanged contact info.

Shayna, who seemed like the leader of this whole event, came and introduced herself too.

An Asian woman arrived and inspected the damage as everyone else continued to trickle into the garden. Tulip and daffodil bulbs were sitting in bags, courtesy of donors.

“The tips should be facing up, and you can see the roots on the bottom beginning to sprout,” she said later, showing us the underside of a tulip bulb. The dirt should then be packed on gently at about half-an-inch deep and watered.

We set to work, most of us assigned to de-weed first. “Anything dead, put it in a pile,” our Asian leader said. The plan was to make a huge compost pile.

The problem was Anna and I didn’t know what were weeds or not. Bianca, our resident expert, helped a lot with that. Afterwards, it was just a lot of repressed rage coming loose as we pulled all the weeds out, which seemed to be endless and everywhere.

Starting to attack the weeds.

More de-weeding!

Even more de-weeding!

Camerawoman Anna sneaks away for a shot.

The compost pile grew bigger, like a monster. Our clothes were full of dirt.

Eventually we started piling rocks too. There were a lot of dead things on the other side of the path, so our Asian woman led us out to the main garden, (where people got their own garden boxes for $10 to plant whatever they wanted.) There were a lot of rakes and shovels there, so we hauled one for each of us back to the little space.


Group photo!

Small helper posing for the paparazzi.

Planting was beginning to happen, and our rakes were like mini plows. Bianca and Anna started on tulips as I focused on composting every dead thing still there. The other Anna joined our group as we hoarded a little square to plant daffodils and tulips. I finally planted some bulbs, and it was an amazing feeling!

Near the end of the day, Shayna gathered us all to speak about Sonia Sanchez, her awesomeness, and read one of Sonia’s poems. After that, we finished planting the last of the bulbs.

“I can’t wait to come back in the Spring,” said Anna.

Shayna says a few words about Sonia Sanchez.

The mural at the end of the day.

Something weird we saw on the way home.


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