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  • Writer's pictureJill

The Berkeley Marina & the Sharynghetti Community Garden

I enjoyed our morning excursion in Berkeley today mostly because it made me love gardening all the more. Our visit to the Sharynghetti community garden was delightful for two reasons.

First, it was a true community garden. In other words, it appears that a collective group of like minded people take care of it together. There were no separate plots as there are in the community garden near my Los Angeles home, where gardeners pay a monthly rental fee to use the land. This was just a little secret enclave, open to the public (but tucked away in front of the marina) that had various raised beds, vegetables, succulents, some chairs for relaxing in the shade, and a barbeque for outdoor enjoyment among the greenery.

The garden looked as if there was a spring planting this year - because there were fruiting tomatoes, some flowering annuals, and a crazy pants zucchini. It also seemed like the garden had been there a while because the grape arbor was quite well established, and there were succulents, and salvia that looked as if they too had lived there a while.

However, it also looked as if there had been little recent care of the garden. There was lots of wild spots, some of the veg needed picking, and the whole plot needed tidying. (That could just be my opinion!) At any rate, I worry when I see gardens that clearly had at one time been very well cared for, but have declined into the wild. I always hope it doesn't mean that a sadness has come upon the gardener, which has precluded them from being able to tend their little plot of land.

Hopefully the "community" part of this garden will come through, even if the primary caretaker can no longer do so -- and it will flourish for the upcoming seasons. If I lived in Berkeley, I would be down there straightaway!

The second reason that I loved visiting the little Sharynghetti Garden, is because it allowed me to create a fiction in my mind about a woman named Sharyn, who built this garden, and loved it very much. There's a movie that I've watched dozens of times called "Notting Hill" (with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts - you will love it. Ok. I confess. It's in my top ten favorite movies of all time). In it, they both secretly steal into a small green space in the midst of busy London. While there, they come upon a bench with this inscription: "For June who loved this garden, from Joseph who always sat beside her." That line always makes me cry. Because June loved the garden. Because Joseph sat beside her. And because they spent their lives together enjoying the serenity of this little green space in the middle of a big city. That's what Sharynghetti's garden reminded me of -- a little green space that someone loved, in the middle of a big city.


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