Five years ago this month, a new community garden was born in Clairemont. You’ve certainly seen it as you drive west on Clairemont Mesa Blvd. just before Clairemont Square. It is hard to miss the frenzy of green plants, the colorful columns training grapevines, the tidy rows of boxes spilling over with new growth. Starting with the thrust of a shovel at our groundbreaking in 2012, the Northminster Community Garden has grown into a thriving, vibrant community, where our gardeners mix and mingle, sharing knowledge, hard work and friendship.
When asked what they loved about the garden, the current gardeners flooded my inbox with their thoughts: “Our garden, to me, is an oasis of beauty that soothes and calms me. I love it in the summer especially, when butterflies are EVERYWHERE and it’s pure joy watching and being among them,” shared Gloria, one or our most dedicated members. A new gardener, Rosemary found out quickly that “it is a peaceful place [with] very friendly people.” Simone eloquently summed it up: “The community garden is a place I practice mindfulness. A place to be free of thoughts. A place of calm.”
I hope you noticed a common theme in these comments: peace and calm. Our gardeners recognize that in our harried day to day urban life, moments of calm can be few and far between. They embrace the respite that the garden provides. But how did this garden come about? Here is a bit of its history:
The garden was started in the spring of 2012 when a generous grant from the SD Presbytery paid for much of the initial labor and supplies. Volunteers did the rest: digging and laying irrigation lines to each bed, building, painting, placing and filling 21 garden beds, constructing a garden shed, and more. By late summer of 2012 the garden was in full swing, with our first harvests in September.
We were thrilled to participate in the Clairemont Garden Tour in May 2013 and then again in 2015 after an expansion in 2014 that doubled the garden to its now current 43 beds. For both tours, our gardeners were enthusiastic ambassadors, sharing their love of gardening with like-minded visitors.
Today we maintain a waiting list that ebbs and flows, much like the seasons. Our gardeners commit to about an hour of communal work time each month as well as a promise to keep their own beds weed-free and healthy. We have regular events open to the community, from garden speakers to potlucks, canning classes to work parties. Each gardener pays a modest fee to participate, and anyone is welcome to join- no affiliation with the church is required. As the sponsor, Northminster Church’s mission is simple: to spread good will to our neighbors.
To that end, we are inviting you, our Clairemont neighbors, to celebrate our 5 year anniversary with us! Mark your calendar for our Garden Celebration. It will be on Sunday, May 21 from 10AM – 2PM . Come enjoy some good food and giveaways, get a tour of our “oasis”, and meet our garden ambassadors. The event begins with a joyful church service at 10 AM after which we will continue the party in the garden from 11-2. Please be our guest!
In parting, I will share one last quote from a gardener, Mike, that captures succinctly our garden’s role: “To me the Community Garden is a place to connect with both nature and people. That makes it a very special place. Thank you…”
Veronica Doyle is a Clairemont resident who has been involved in the NPC Community Garden since day 1. She kind of likes it there. For information about the garden, contact the church office: 858-490-3995 or visit www.northminstersandiego.com