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Roosevelt Island courtesy of Shutterstock

Did you read about that wacky garden club on New York’s Roosevelt Island? Things have gone sadly awry at the tiny East River island’s Garden Club, according to a recent New York Times story. The 120-plot community garden is located in Octagon Park and run by a volunteer board. Full members of the club may own plots, associate members can work in the garden, and there’s about a 75-person waiting list for plots. It’s not an atypical situation in this crowded microcosm, where public green space is relatively abundant, but private garden space is rare.

The new president of the club, April Ward, elected in October, is either reforming or ruining operations at the garden, depending on whose side you’re on. She has accused other members of overnight partying in the space—with compost bins to store solo cups and the garden shed a nexus of illicit activity. She’s also declared war against weeds (as well as weed), and has left waterproof notes in the plots of offenders. At some point, the communal garden shed was set on fire, and the garden was briefly closed (it has since reopened). If you want to know more, I am sure there will be further reports in the Times, or the Roosevelt Island paper.

I like living in a city, but so far, I have resisted the idea of participating in a shared garden space, mainly because I want my garden to be part of my relaxation at home, not just another stop-off on the round of daily chores. I considered getting some kind of plot where I could grow vegetables, but decided I’d be much happier with a CSA share.

Too bad, though, that these people had to turn a peaceful activity that’s supposed to relieve stress into a big fight that will probably end in litigation.

Posted by

Elizabeth Licata
on April 15, 2013 at 7:47 am, in the category Ministry of Controversy.


  1. I’m just thinking that everybody considers gardening such a staid activity engaged in by little old blue-haired ladies with muddy gloves on, and here we’ve got sex, drugs, drinking, and arson.

  2. Your article on Sex, Drugs, & Rock and Roll Gardening is sad. One would hope the reason for gardening is to bring solace, inspiration and happiness into your life, not turmoil and angst.

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