Northeast Times

In full bloom

— Frank­ford res­id­ents are us­ing the power of flowers to beau­ti­fy their com­munity.

Start­Frag­ment

Gar­dens grow, and a little com­munity garden in Frank­ford grew a bit on Ju­ly  31.

A trio of Frank­ford Ju­ni­or Garden­ers were helped by adults as they built new beds for some late sum­mer-plant­ing at Tack­awanna and Mead­ow streets. The work force grew, too, as neigh­bors stopped by to pitch in.

“We doubled the size of the garden,” said Char­lene Lewis Walk­er, as­sist­ant co­ordin­at­or of the newly formed Frank­ford Neigh­bor­hood Ad­vis­ory Coun­cil. Greens and gar­lic will be planted in the new beds, she said.

Already grow­ing in beds built in the spring are pep­pers, onions, to­ma­toes and tiny mel­ons that right now are a long way from pick­ing.

The garden is part of a small neigh­bor­hood park that just a couple years ago was an un­used lot — and looked it. It was filled with lit­ter and high weeds. After a few sea­sons of work, the “pock­et park” has new fen­cing, benches, a rain bar­rel, sev­er­al new trees, shrubs and the raised garden beds that were ad­ded to last week.

The park’s new look re­quired some time as well as ef­fort.

The weeds and the re­fuse were tar­geted as part of suc­cess­ive an­nu­al cleanups in 2010 and ’11, and Frank­ford Parks Group mem­bers ten­ded to the prop­erty. They also have been im­prov­ing nearby Wilmot Park and Hedge Street play­ground. The first two raised ve­get­able beds were built in April. As the grow­ing sea­son pro­gressed, the NAC brought to­geth­er some neigh­bor­hood teens, the “Ju­ni­or Garden­ers,” to help out.

Wayne Mc­Coy, 14, a Frank­ford High School fresh­man, joined Avery Walk­er, 15, a New Found­a­tions Charter School sopho­more, and cous­in Yvonne Walk­er, 16, a Frank­ford High sopho­more, to work along­side Frank­ford Parks Group pres­id­ent Kim­berly Wash­ing­ton; Avery’s mom, Char­lene; Phil­adelphia As­sist­ant Man­aging Dir­ect­or Manny Cit­ron; and Jason Dawkins, an aide to City Coun­cil­wo­man Maria Quinones-Sanc­hez (D-7th dist.)

Young Frank­ford res­id­ents Ameerah Bond and Patrice Black saw the work go­ing on last week and joined in, as did Nafisah Lewis, own­er of the Iqraa Caf&ea­cute; on the 4600 block of Frank­ford Ave., said Wash­ing­ton and Char­lene Lewis Walk­er.

Be­sides build­ing the new beds, they weeded and cul­tiv­ated, and talked about how they wished the mel­ons would hurry up and grow.

Cit­ron, who is a neigh­bor­hood co­ordin­at­or for the city’s Phil­lyR­ising pro­gram, brought a rain bar­rel, garden hose, spig­ot, three cul­tiv­at­ors and a dozen small hand tools along with wood and soil for the new beds.

The $320 all of that cost, he said, was provided by Phil­lyR­ising as a grant to the com­munity.

The Tack­awanna Street prop­erty be­came lis­ted as a “com­munity garden” this year, Cit­ron said, after Wash­ing­ton and Dawkins worked with Phil­lyR­ising to get the use OK’d by the city, which owns the lot.

“This is the type of col­lab­or­at­ive ef­fort that Phil­lyR­ising thrives on,” Cit­ron said. “We try to en­cour­age this in every neigh­bor­hood.”

Com­munity garden­ing is be­ing en­cour­aged on the oth­er side of Frank­ford Av­en­ue, too.

Phil­lyR­ising, which puts people and city agen­cies to­geth­er to work on neigh­bor­hood pro­jects, also is do­ing that with the By Faith Alone church on Ox­ford Av­en­ue to get keep a com­munity garden go­ing at Penn Street and Ox­ford.

In 2010, the Rev. Gab­ri­el Wang-Her­rera’s small con­greg­a­tion, housed a few doors down from the garden, got in­volved with neigh­bors who were tend­ing a garden on the site. A Bell At­lantic build­ing had been on that prop­erty, but it was leveled in a 1995 nat­ur­al gas ex­plo­sion. ••

End­Frag­ment

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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