Saying ghetto greening is probably not politically correct, but saying ‘greening vacant lots of Philadelphia’ sounds like I’m talking about lots and dirt and plants but not PEOPLE. My business falls in the domain of “Fine Gardening”. I specialize in creating ‘head turning’ gardens full of contrasts, diversity and hopefully beauty.
My vision and dream, however, is to help create beautiful gardens in the most desolate, forgotten and deprived areas of our great city. There some non-profits who are doing work of this kind, like Philadelphia Green. But we have 40,000 vacant lots in the our city of Brotherly Love.
I wonder what would happen if you or I lived next to a vacant lot that was covered in trash, weed trees and years of neglect. If I saw people cleaning the lot, enriching the soil, harnessing the rain water and bringing in plants I would definitely go out there to watch the show. When I saw that they welcomed my help, I would help and learn from them how to plant and later how to maintain it. I would talk about it with my neighbors and we would all start spending time in this place. Someone would bring in a bench. For the first time in two generations we would have a shaded area in summer in our neighborhood.
I think that it should be a privilege for those of us who ‘temporarily have more’ to give what we have to give to those of us who ‘temporarily have less’. What I have to give is the ability to transform outdoor spaces and make beautiful gardens. Since trees and green plants tend to uplift our spirits, I think beautiful gardens in downtrodden places can go a long way.