Fitzwater 2000 Community Garden
DescriptionSince its establishment in 1995, Fitzwater 2000 has offered natural respite to Philadelphia's Graduate Hospital neighborhood. Neighbors initially organized to clean up vacant lots including an "abandoned shell" of a building, recalls Stephen Maciejewski, garden archivist and co-founder. Knowing the importance of aesthetics for making the garden a welcoming space and for preservation efforts, landscape architect Michael LoFurno designed the garden in 1996, incorporating eight plots, compost bins, rain barrels, a tool shed, a butterfly area, and a sitting area at the entrance for get-togethers. The plants themselves play a huge role in welcoming visitors, from the passion vine that "comes up all over the place" with its beautiful flowers to the 'Winter King' green hawthorn that attracts robins and passersby during colder months. Indeed, Philadelphia's City Council initially helped the gardeners overcome development challenges to obtain the lots, and the garden has been preserved by the Neighborhood Gardens Trust since 2007. "It would be impossible to do it today," Maciejewski says of Fitzwater 2000's preservation. But thanks to all those who fought hard to save the garden for its first two decades, humans and nonhumans alike can enjoy the space for decades to come.
Story contributed by Joe M.