Victory Gardens for Sustainability

SDC10341.JPGThe City of Houston is working to encourage sustainable aspects of life in the big city and one is to show how “victory gardens” can easily be started and enjoyed. In the case of the latest demo the garden adds a new dimension and reason for enjoying a great public space–Tranquility Park.

The first area created for container gardens is at the corner of Walker and Smith Streets in front of the City’s building known as 611 Walker. The latest location is in Tranquility Park across the street from the first. Click for Map.
CIMG4392.JPGThe large pots at 611 Walker were planted in the middle of a hot Houston summer and thrived despite some of us being skeptical. What made the difference was great soil, healthily seedlings and a lot of TLC from employees in the building that adopted a pot and choose the plants. Okra has really thrived and other plants have also grown well.  As you can see here the plants are a bit “leggy”–typical of vegetables as they mature.  The pots are positioned in what was an empty plaza with a few struggling trees. They are not irrigated and therefore are watered using a hose.CIMG4397.JPG As you can see they are thriving-evidence of the enjoyment they bring to many on each floor.

The most recent container garden is in Tranquility Park. The park design provides various levels and shapes to the built spaces between the walkways. [Read more soon about this park in a future post]. The photos here show how several of those levels have been converted from empty, grassed areas to now holding container gardens comprised of steel cylinders. The cylinders were selected to repeat the theme of three metal columns that are three tall fountains in the center of the park commemorating the three astronauts.

An interesting aspect of this addition to the mid-size park is a new destination and at least two things to do have been added. Additional park use will occur and that should lead to more people stopping, or at least slowing down, as they walk through. Perhaps the first victory of the victory gardens will be to re-activate the park.

SDC10338.jpgThis is another project of the City’s new Director of Sustainability, Laura Spanjian. Other contributors were: City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department, Public Works and Engineering,SDC10335.JPG Urban Harvest, Keep Houston Beautiful, Asakura Robinson, Fischer Schalles Associates, Texas AgriLife, University of Houston Downtown Environmental Club, HEB, Nature’s Way Resources, San Jacinto Environmental, Thompson and Hanson, and Scotts.

Check back for updates on how well the gardens thrive and if they attract more visitors to the park.


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