Garden Preservation
9th and C community Garden

CONTACT: Ninette Kiddon

LOCATION: 9th Street and Avenue C

At 9th Street and Avenue C, a dreary corner lot was cleared and transformed into one of the largest and most diversified of gardens on the Lower East Side. The location is quite favorable; a large expanse with unobstructed sunlight from all directions, easy access to water, plants of all sorts, some rare and valuable, brought by gardeners and friends from many places.

From 1978 when it began, members expanded and enriched the available land, gaining additional lots through the condemnation of and the razing of adjacent buildings. At this time, no further change nor development is expected.

All the founding gardeners were from the immediate neighborhood; as the city changed so did the membership. At first there were hardly a half-dozen who wanted to make a garden for the community; in recent years, there are about three dozen members. Each has brought something to the garden - in spirit, effort or in materials. Within the garden are spaces which are tended in memory of some people who have contributed greatly.

Though now expanded, the pathways remain as originally laid out. There is an enormous willow tree circled by signs of the zodiac set in mosaic, (these stone decorations were found on the street and joyfully added to the garden long ago). Wooden structures for elegant loafing have been erected as well as utilitarian sheds, and bins, fences and arbors. And a pond - yes, with lots of goldfish. Two mulberry trees were set out close to the sidewalk in the earliest years - much to the delight of children as the trees drop purple berries on the ground each spring.

Nowadays, the fences along Ave. C and 9th Street are shared by street vendors along with vines of moonflower, honeysuckle and bittersweet planted 15 years ago. Sharing the garden with passersby and sidewalk vendors represent yet another aspect of contemporary city gardens. Decisions made during official 9th Street Gardeneršs meetings try to accommodate differing needs in this extremely diverse community. Most members believe that enhancing the sense of improvement on the Lower East Side by the gardenšs visible growth is part of the purpose of the garden. Another element, less tangible yet equally valuable, is a link from our community of gardeners to the community of citizens.

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