Solano Canyon Community Garden

Jun 12, 2010 by Lisa Newton

I always love it when I find something interesting, especially when I’m not looking for it– which exactly was the case with the Solano Canyon Community Garden, located just off the Pasadena Freeway.

Although its gates were closed while I was there, it didn’t mean that I couldn’t feel its vibe–the feel of the garden, its community spirit, and all the love and care of the community garden which was given, came to life during somewhat of clairvoyant moment.

Occupying the former site of the Solano Avenue Elementary School, which was torn down in 1935 shortly after construction of the Pasadena Freeway, the Solano Canyon Community Garden was established by the nearby community 11 years ago.

An amazing fact about this garden is that the freeway runs alongside—and under—the garden.  Part of the orchard is actually situated above the second tunnel of the northbound lane of the Interstate 101 highway.

The first thing that caught my attention was the inlay tile that surrounds the entrance to the Solano Canyon Community Garden. It only took a moment for me to realize what I’d found, but upon that realization, the wonders only increased.

Two thirds of the garden space are devoted to orchard and hillside planting beds for non-local farmers, and the remainder consists of common areas and 30 individual garden plots.

Clearly the love and care that went into each tile design, is a marked degree of both creativity as well as a Public Art monument. It was created and transformed with very small pieces of tile, as all of its pieces were put together to form the overall pattern–therefore by default, this artwork catches the eye as well as keeps the eye.

At the base of the stairs that lead to the Garden’s Gate, you’ll see this

Even though the gates were locked, I was able to get this photo. As time is always the great destroyer, the gardens have only lost a little of their flair—it’s respite with life, love, and freshness. Here, people are growing food to put on their tables, herbs to season their dishes, and flowers to add color to their homes.

Growing is what gardens, gardening, and gardening is all about, and there is no better way to demonstrate that than by including children in the growing process. Because, after all, aren’t we all children at heart?

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