Renewing Sally’s South Garden

Submitted by Mo Pomietto.

Over twenty years ago Sally Bill gifted almost four acres of land to the Lopez Community Center Association (LCCA). This began efforts to nurture new community life in the heart of Lopez Village. In years since the Farmer’s Market, Lopez Children’s Center and Fertile Ground Community Garden have grown and helped shape community life in Sally’s Garden.

Since July 2021, consideration has been underway to enhance the south side of Sally’s Garden, the portion that lays between Eads Lane and the Fertile Ground garden boundaries. A vision emerged for revitalizing the area to create a more user-friendly, accessible space while honoring the San Juan Preservation Trust Conservation Easement and the original intent of Sally’s Garden.

In 2022, a team of Fertile Ground gardeners, LCCA Board, and staff invited a cross-section of the Lopez community to hear the vision, share ideas, and create a plan for the next steps of the south garden. Design principles include maintaining contemplative and reflective space; natural play space and seating; visual access with defined boundaries; preserve/focus on the natural, the wild, and agriculture; low/no maintenance; and simple environmental education. Design priorities for revitalization were also outlined and formulated into a plan to renew the south garden.

Activity began in the summer of 2022 and will continue through the end of 2024. Diseased plum trees were removed. Swale upkeep and flail mowing of some blackberries started to restore the beauty of this parkland area.

Sally’s South Garden Committee was established to advise on south garden work through 2024 in conjunction with the staff and Board. The committee of three Board members and three to four community members will help guide efforts to complete the implementation of the action plan.

Seasonal work parties for maintenance are being planned – the first on Sunday, May 28 from 10 am to noon. Community engagement was integral to the development of Sally’s Garden. In keeping with this spirit, the committee’s hope is to engage a core group of passionate volunteers to work with them. All are welcome!

Jessica Roundy Dahl, of Field and Grove Design Studio, was hired to draft a conceptual design of Sally’s South Garden. The landscape improvements will incorporate the design principles and priorities. Interested in seeing the design? Community members can drop by an Open House, Tuesday, May 9 from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm at the Lopez Center for Community and the Arts to view the design and give input.

Hope to see you on May 9 or at a future work party! And be sure to take a few moments to walk the south garden and discover the natural beauty of this contemplative space.