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.
Letter from Djamil and the Leland Garden team:
Next Workday Saturday October 21st
10 am to 3 pm, with 1 pm potluck lunch
We’ll be deep pruning lots of dead roses, planting garlic and kale, and may put some vegetable beds asleep for the winter. Please come by to get kale plants for your own garden!
Please read below about the wonderful garden party we had on Oct. 1st:
Wow! What a fantastic Garden Party we enjoyed…Many thanks to everyone who shared in the co-creation, including all those who attended. We raised over $600. as well!
If any pictures come my way, or if anyone would like to share their experience with the group, send it along and I’ll include in a newsletter.
This poem kicked off the party and was offered by Deborah, one of the founding matriarchs. It was read in 1990 when the garden was first open and is still so relevant today.
stuttering in underdeveloped languages
whose words create an impasse
which only touching hands can break.
can create, touch, dance,
move in unison to sing,
can act in any other medium but words
to make together
out of nothing but themselves
small seats of shelter
small playground – parks for all
or yards or rooms or selves –
block by block by block
See you soon!
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
Events for children
Concerts and musical celebrations
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