“…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 of1994 – 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, OP, 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 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 College Preparatory. 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, and 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
Donations to Star of Hope