Dominican Sisters of Houston
To Praise To Bless To Preach

Community Garden

“…you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water

 never fails.”  Isaiah 58:11

 The Dominican Sisters’ Ecology Committee had a dream in the fall of

1994 – the dream of using a small plot of the motherhouse grounds for a

vegetable garden.  This was to be a very special garden, one that would

give witness to our commitment to live and act in an ecologically

responsible manner.  With study and labor, the dream came alive!  Our

garden goals are two-fold:  donation of organic garden produce to help

those in need, and education to assist others with the practice of organic

gardening in their local areas.

 The garden has five beds, each 5 feet wide and 40 feet long, positioned

for adequate sunlight.  A smaller sixth bed is reserved for herbs and

flowers, and a beautiful bird bath crafted by artist-gardener Isabelle

Chapman.  During the first ten years, garden volunteers, student

visitors and service groups were instructed – and inspired – by Sr.

Clement Johnson, botanist and resident expert.

 Since Sr. Clement’s death in 2004, volunteers have remained dedicated,

and garden leadership excellent, first with Debbie Leflar, and currently

with Pilar Hernandez.  Service groups continue to visit and help.  Each

Tuesday morning, the gardeners are nourished by friendship and

sharing, by garden tending and planting.  We have garden “regulars”

who have been with us for many years, forming a garden community

whose members support one another in moments of crisis and who

celebrate special times. 


Addition of tree mulch to the garden surfaces further enhances the

beauty of our garden space and makes it a pleasant work area rain or

shine.  We are annually assisted with the fall mulching by a service

group from Cristo Rey Jesuit Prep. The seasonal beauty of the garden

with its seating area is always restful and refreshing.  It really never

is all work and no play!


From the outset, the Dominican Sisters’ garden has been affiliated

with Urban Harvest.  Many hear about the garden through Urban

Harvest, and of course, we have friends!  Our annual produce now

reaches over 1,300 pounds.


The garden offers support for neighbors in need.  Produce is taken

to Manna House, a cooperative Third Ward ministry of several nearby

congregations, also to Star of Hope at its location on Reed Road.    


As of April 2020, we proudly present a Silver Anniversary garden!

It is a place of tranquil beauty, with monarch butterflies and seasonal

flowers in addition to four successful seasons of produce.        


            From the Garden

              September-October, 2020


              #       52        butternut squash

              #       50.5     okra

              #       45        eggplant

  #       20.5     satsumas

  #       18.5     sweet potatoes

              #       11        green beans

              #         7.5     bok choy

              #         5.5     collards

              #         5        squash

              #        1.5     kale

              #         1        peppers

              #         1        basil

              #           .5     long beans

              #           .5     Swiss chard


        Total:  #220

            Donations to Star of Hope,

            St. James Episcopal, Villa




























L to R Sister Heloise, Pilar Hernandez

(L to R) Sr. Heloise with garden leader, Pilar Hernandez

The 2012 Urban Harvest Nutgrass Roots Award was presented to the Dominican Sisters Garden.  This award is presented to community gardens that are as tenacious  as nutgrass, gardens that have overcome many obstacles such as changing leadership, rabbits, broken water systems, Houston weather, opinionated gardeners and much more.  Through sheer determination and effort, they have established themselves as gardens of excellence and sustainability.

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