Leland Street Cooperative Garden:

A Unique Resource Open to the Community



The Leland Street Cooperative Garden is a community garden in the truest sense of the term. Dedicated to creating a neighborhood gathering place, the garden is free from individually owned plots and fences, locks and keys. Everything in the garden is open for all to use.

Note from Djamil and the Leland Garden team:

A quick invite to join Kathleen and Larry this Saturday, June 24, 10am, to walk through and identify the tremendous wealth of permaculture herbs that already exist and thrive in the Leland Street Cooperative Garden. Larry will be photographing to help make this information more accessible to all.

It will be a rather focused event. All are welcome!



Hope you are doing well.  Welcome new friends to the garden and we look forward to meeting all of you!

Thank you Susan for contributing 2 new trash barrels to the garden, and Joanna for allowing us to put them with yours on the yard waste days. It’s a huge help!  To this point we have had an extraordinary dependence on the generosity of Deborah and her house immediately adjacent to the garden. She is one of the garden founders, and now after 30+ years, she has other needs and interests to tend to. She is still active with us as she is inspired, and all of us in the neighborhood have an opportunity to step up and play a more active role in all the things it takes to keep a garden happy…

Would any of you like to host the next meeting on July 6, 7-9? It’s really fun to meet in the garden, yet the bugs as the sun sets might be challenging, as well as the possibility of rain or a tornado (hahaha, couldn’t resist 🙂 ) We’ll need a back up alternative, ideally close to the garden but not necessary.
Saturday, June 17, 2017 we have a fine line up!

9am – Yoga in the Garden with Nicole Pelletier and Deborah Schwartz to start our day

10-3pm – Work-playday: lots of weeding and the like. Your presence is always enough…

 1pm  –  Potluck:  meet the neighborhood!

The Vinyasa Yoga class is free and open to all ages and levels. To quote their flyer:

“This class series is designed to build community in the Forest Hills neighborhood, as well as physical, mental, and spiritual health.  All levels (including beginners) welcome. Please bring mat or towel (we will have a few extra); sun screen, sun glasses, water and/or coffee. This is a community space, so be prepared for dogs and their humans to walk through the garden.”


Visit to Paradise Lot in Holyoke

This past weekend, many Leland gardeners went on a special field trip to Holyoke to visit Paradise Lot, Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates’ 15 year-long experiment in permaculture on a small urban lot. You can read about the garden at https://paradiselotblog.wordpress.com/


I hope you are doing well with our manic weather  and all. It’s surely having an impact on the garden. The rain, so welcome, revived a lot of the plants we almost  lost in the drought last year, including some of our invasive weeds…look out for the Nettle and the Bishops weed! These are both healing herbs and are most challenging in a community garden setting. The Nettle has little thorns, even the little ones,  and the Bishops weed literally takes over and has already claimed two shrubs…If you have any organic (no Monsanto RoundUp here!) suggestions for removing the Bishops Weed, please share.

Planting is underway with the Tomatoes, and a few others in the ground with more awaiting their places.



At the last general meeting we thoroughly looked into the prospect of growing mushrooms and find we have everything we need. It, like so many ideas, are awaiting the timing and people power to make them happen.


We continue to watch our neighborhood transform with condos selling and new people arriving, or soon to arrive. I have enjoyed meeting kind people and their children and dogs consistently just finding their way around and more people, whom I have not met, sending emails requesting to be added to this list…Welcome all! It seems to me that the Leland Street Cooperative Garden has a Soul of its own and it is a pleasure to be able to help it make this transition for the next generations to love and care for…We are all in this together!

And I saw the first Monarch passing through as well..a big yellow one! Many of  you may know that we didn’t have any for a couple of years and they seem to be making their return.

On the tough days, it helps me to remember this amazing Being was once a Caterpillar…


Wishing you all the best,

DJamil and the Leland Garden team



What is the garden?

The garden is an oasis offering shade trees and a place to sit, walk, and enjoy. There are monthly steering committee meetings and workdays for those who wish to participate. We have a cutting flower garden, vegetable beds, perennial borders, and, as the centerpiece, a lovely herb garden. We also have honeybees. Composting is done using a three-bin system.

Origin and evolution of the garden:

By the early 1980’s, an area of 11,445 square feet, comprising three vacant lots, had become a dumping ground, littered with broken glass, garbage, and abandoned cars. It had also become a venue for drinking, drug dealing, and other illegal activity; most neighbors avoided walking into or even near The Lots. At that time, some nearby neighbors of The Lots decided to address the problem. They began to organize cleanup days and picnics, and discussed possible uses for the space.

In 1983, Boston Natural Areas Fund purchased the lots, ensuring that they would remain “green and open to the public forever.” In 1989, the garden received a grant of $25,000 from the Grassroots Program of the City of Boston. A local landscape architect was hired to design the garden, with input from neighbors. It was decided to build an open community space rather than individual plots.

Many neighborhood volunteers worked for two years to re-grade, haul in quality soil, and plant herbs, shrubs, and trees. In 1991, The Leland Street Community received the prestigious Community Garden of the Year award from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.

From 1991 until the present, the garden has been sustained by work days and monthly meetings, bringing joy to neighbors and contributing to our sense of community.

Recently, ownership of the land comprising the Leland Street Cooperative Garden has passed from Boston Natural Areas Network (now defunct) to Trustees of Reservations. Interested members of the community are exploring exciting ways of responding to this change. A recent name change, from the Leland Street Community Garden to the Leland Street Cooperative Garden, was made for the sake of clarity and to avoid confusion, since, unlike the vast majority of “community gardens,” the Leland Street Community garden does not have any individual plots.

As always, everyone who wants to get involved in the garden and its ongoing process of change, adaptation, and evolution as a resource for the community and a means of creating community is welcome!


 Events and Gatherings:

Saturday workdays with potluck lunches

Winter soup nights

Beekeeping demonstrations

Solstice demonstrations

Events for children

Concerts and musical celebrations

Honey Day

Good Pickin’ Times:


Basil – July through September

Chives – June through November

Comfrey – June through September

Dill – July through September

Fennel – June through September

Lavender – June through September

Lemon balm – April through September

Lovage – April through May

Mint – April through September

Oregano – June through September

Parsley – July through September

Rhubarb – May through June

Sage – June through October

Sorrel – April through November


a variety of green leafy vegetables in season


a profusion of perennials such as roses, bee-balm, and butterfly bushes

a cutting garden with annuals including zinnias and cosmos

If you wish to receive email about garden events, contact:


Leland Street Co-operative Garden

15 Leland Street

Jamaica Plain, MA 02130