Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Redefining A Garden's Purpose

At Burton Street Community Peace Garden the plantings take second place to a more important function. The garden was started on a piece of land donated by the owners for use as an open space for a poor and troubled community to gather.

I did not take pictures of plants in this garden or the vegetables growing in the sunnier open section. I did not walk a few lots down the street to another vacant lot they have turned over fully to growing food. Gardens can have other meanings and serve other purposes.


















Safi Mahaba and her husband Dewayne Barton have instead created a garden centered around peace, love and social justice, a garden where a community can gather to heal and find their own solutions to the common problems many poor urban communities face. Dinners can be cooked in the cob oven and served on site. What better way to have a community feel invited to gather.


























Dewayne Barton is an artist who gathers the refuse, yes the garbage, that is the daily backdrop of trudging through a poor urban life and gives it a new purpose. The themes in his installations are apparent. It is a way for a community to look at and begin talking about the larger forces around them over which they feel they have no control, yet still affect their lives in many ways.

Turning dinosaurs into gasoline




















Condoleezza Rice


























The water park ride of plastic. You don't have to be poor and urban to understand his message.


























The Burton Street Community Peace Garden is also very much a place for children. I did hear someone say while we were there that they were not sure it would be safe for kids with all this refuse around. This debris of urban life is what these kids walk through and play around in their environment on every given day. Why not take this garbage and put it to use to foster creativity under the watchful eyes of adults?


























A garden can be many things. A garden can reflect the community it serves. A garden can foster children's curiosity about the world they live in. A garden can have another purpose.


























A garden can be more than pretty flowers and textured shrubberies.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

So very creative!
Sallysmom

Lola said...

Love those chairs in the first Pic. They are very clever with the uses of material.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

This garden was full of heart. You could feel the beat.

Anonymous said...

Very nice post, Christopher.

bev

Fairegarden said...

Your words are profound, Christopher, as is this garden.

Carolyn @ Carolyn's Shade Gardens said...

Christopher, You are are such a good writer that you made me understand even better than when I was there what this garden is all about. The fling was a wonderful experience, and I am so thankful for your efforts at organizing it. Hope to see you at next year's fling if I can afford it. Carolyn

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

She told us about making pizza in that cob oven, and was so animated while telling the tale of heating the oven to getting the pizza out when it was done. It was a treat!

Siria said...

Looks like a beautiful place. Thank you for sharing it! I loved that last picture....

LKW said...

Community gardens are special, as is this one.

Great post.

Skeeter said...

Upon arrival, I was thinking What? Upon departure, I was thinking, what an interesting garden and way to get community together in the great outdoors.... Thanks for putting this one on the tour Christopher...

Penryn said...

the art of a garden, in pure urban Ashevillian form. Thanks for including this space in the tour.

Helen said...

My post on this garden tomorrow will be my first on the Fling. Because, as beautiful and intriguing as the other gardens were, this is the one that left me thinking about it most. Thank you, Christopher and crew, for creating a memorable Fling.

Julie said...

Christopher, I'm so glad this garden was part of our tour. It's not an easy garden, or a traditionally "pretty" garden, but I'm so enamored with the messages and respite it provides for the community. I haven't written my post yet, because I haven't quite found the right words to express how amazing I think the founders are for providing this space for the community. I think your post helped get my thoughts in order.