Inside The New York Botanical Garden

Diana Soler

An Urban Garden’s Mysticism

Posted in Learning Experiences on August 21 2014, by Diana Soler

Diana Soler is a NYC Summer Youth Employee with Bronx Green-Up, the community gardening outreach program of The New York Botanical Garden.

Bronx Green Up Community WorkdayGrowing up in the city, I wasn’t one to appreciate wildlife. I ran away from it. Tall buildings and concrete provided me with comfort. Seeing empty lots of land confirmed this attitude for me. They looked like restricted mini-forests, having fences around the perimeter with weeds and trash caged inside. It was almost as if these spaces don’t exist, as the urban life surrounding them doesn’t acknowledge the presence of nature and all of the mystical treasures it has inside.

Luckily, I was given the chance to see the light of these enchanted forests. While working for Bronx Green-Up (the community gardening outreach program of The New York Botanical Garden) as part of NYC’s Summer Youth Employment Program, I was exposed to community gardens that are being cared for and acknowledged by urban green thumbs. These once abandoned lots were turned into spaces where local community members can garden and establish meaningful relationships with both plants and people. The first task I am usually given when entering a new garden is to pull out weeds. I didn’t really know what I was doing at first. My common sense just told me to pull out the ones that look ugly, or that don’t quite fit in with the rest of the plants. Also, if there are decent-sized flowers on them, then those can stay.

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