The Foreclosure Garden Story

This blog is about gardening on a foreclosed property. Posts are mainly about the gardens progress with the occasional post about foreclosures.
To get up to speed on the project go to the first few posts which tell the story of the property and how the garden came into being.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Smallest Community Garden in LA

The smallest community garden
One day in early April I came out of my driveway to find one of my neighbors, Gonzalo, leaning over the planter in front of my house. He was surreptitiously dropping seeds into the planter I hadn't gotten around to planting. "You know if you plant it it's yours" I hollered out to him. He laughed and hollered back. Okay! Why not seed some of the other planters? Okay! But then they are yours. Gonzalo considered for a moment. Maybe Javier and Sal also. Sounds good.
Soon after that corn and beans started appearing. I had planted some tomatoes in the the parkway planter and soon squashes that Gonzalo had planted started coming up along with volunteer sunflowers from last years planting. Sal and Javier live next door. Sal considers himself the Mayor of the neighborhood. He told us when we first moved in that if we had any problems with anyone to talk to him first. He'd sort it out. And while having someone stand sentinel most of the day has its benefits it also means on occasion police will run through my back yard pistols out. These days he seems mostly to take care of the grandchildren, violet and Jasmine. Javier lives on the second floor of the two story apartment building next door. He lives with his wife Rosa. He has two sons. One of them is at the police academy and the other at UC Riverside. I heard he had a daughter but she died of Leukemia. He has Leukemia as well. He used to keep birds on his balcony but their was trouble with his landlord so he no longer has any. I see Javier everyday. When I am working in my backyard he and his family wave and we chat over the wall, about the chickens and plants.
Gonzalo lives on the next block down towards the highway. He lives in a building where Javier used to live. Gonzalo is at war with his landlord. Evidently, part of the ceiling fell in and on top of Gonzalo, breaking some ribs and giving him a concussion. the landlord said he had no insurance so he couldn't pay Gonzalo any money. Gonzalo has been trying to get him to pay. He finally offered him 2500 but Gonzalo felt it wasn't enough. I think he should have taken the money but he said no.
Gonzalo used to have a farm at south central and he is interviewed in the documentary "The Garden." I think that whole situation really broke his spirit. He had a beautiful big garden there. Now he had the little box in front of my house.

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