Monday, August 10, 2009
The voting has just begun for the "What Makes Your Place Great" contest that Mike Quinlan alerted us to in an earlier post, but the winner – or rather a category of winners – is already clear from the 40 entries in the photo-and-essay contest. It's gardens, and I don't mean formal places like Millennium Park or any of the other very nice park spaces that people nominated.
The "great places" that one-fifth of the entries reflect are community-oriented gardens built and maintained and enjoyed by local residents, from the Hoxie Prairie Garden at 106th and Hoxie to the Waters School Garden (photo above) to the Thomas Street Community Garden. Click through the photos and you'll discover eight special spots including the Gingko Organic Gardens near Wrigley Field, the River Park in Geneva, the Heavenly Garden of Bush and a NeighborSpace plot at 2227 N. Monticello. And of course there's the nomination that Mike wants you to vote for, the West Haven Garden tended by local teens. (Vote here.)
Riverwalks and park spaces were also nominated, but in my mind the gardens represent something much more powerful than a a municipal greenspace, however nicely trimmed and decked out with professional landscaping it might be. As the essays point out, the community gardens foster ownership, creativity, exercise, friendships and of course that miracle of miracles, growing something beautiful or delicious from a tiny seed.