Elizabeth, Bushnell, Colt, Keney, Pope, and Goodwin are usually the spots that come to mind when green areas are mentioned. Maybe Riverside Park and Charter Oak Landing will be included.
Not always as public as the actual parks, community gardens provide an equally relaxing environment, yet they might seem “hidden” to those who rely on private transportation to move about the city. Most of these gardens are, in fact, not hidden at all.
Unlocked gardens allow anyone to pass through, though going into individual garden plots is discouraged unless the gardener extends an invitation. Likewise, it’s poor etiquette to pick flowers and vegetables unless invited: anything growing outside of the main fence, however, is generally up for grabs.
If you’re looking to relax, smell some flowers, listen to birds chirp, and covet your neighbor’s heirloom tomatoes, here are some places you can do this:
North Hartford Community Garden (new): at 131 Coventry Street
Brand new as of late June, this garden is on the Mount Sinai campus. Food grown here will be distributed through the St. Francis Food Bank.
Battles Street Greenhouse and Community Garden: at 80 Battles Street
This large garden is opposite the train tracks from the Meadows (or whatever you kids these days call it). It’s been in use for over twenty years and recently had eight plots added to it, as there has been an increased interest in gardening. A Real Hartford reader who has a plot on Battles Street said that the gardeners there were “serious” and that most of the spots were fenced in.
Affleck Community Garden: on Affleck between Park and Ward
This space remains locked, but if people are inside gardening, you might go inside. Corn was a popular crop here last season. Check out the plots that are watched by the rooster.
Broad Community Garden: on Broad Street between Russ and Grand
Broad Street has several additional garden spaces, including one used to grow wheat, and one for residents of Billings Forge.
Niles Community Garden: on Niles between Sigourney and Laurel
This site is very accessible. Besides seeing what interesting things gardeners are up to, it affords a view of Asylum Hill’s many churches. Fun fact: This garden sinks! Literally. They needed to haul in more soil to help stabilize the area.
Watkinson Community Garden: on Bloomfield Avenue; access through end of parking lot at Unitarian Meeting House
The phrase “hidden gem” tends to be overused and misused, but I think it applies here. The garden can not be seen from Bloomfield Avenue, Albany Avenue, or Mark Twain Drive unless you know to look for it, and then, squint your eyes. This garden is huge. It’s used by the Watkinson School and people in the community.
West End Community Garden
located on Girard on UConn Law School grounds
While open to law students, this garden is not exclusively used by those at the school. There are a few birdbaths and even a Buddha statue. Raspberries poke through the fence at the northeastern corner of the garden.
Winter/Green Community Garden: between Winter and Green
Huntington Community Garden: at 37 Huntington
Church of Good Shepherd Community Garden: at 155 Wyllys, but really, at corner of Luis Ayala Ave. and Osten Boulevard.
Sargeant Community Garden: on Sargeant between Woodland and Atwood
Evergreen Community Garden: on Evergreen at corner of Fales
J.C. Clark Elementary School Community Garden: at 75 Clark Street
Lorraine Street: at 20 Lorraine
If you want to do more than look, contact Knox Parks Foundation to have your name put on a waiting list for a garden plot.
Reprinted with permission of Kerri Provost, author of the blog RealHartford.
To view other stories on this topic, search RealHartford at http://www.realhartford.org/.