Sunday 26 February 2012

Alcatraz Historic Garden

Image from The Gardens of Alcatraz website
I have to confess when I think of Alcatraz the first thing that springs to mind are movies not gardens.  However, there is an historic garden on this ex-prison island stuck in the middle of San Fransisco Bay.  Since 2003 the garden has been in the joint care of The Garden Conservancy and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.  

The gardens have their own great website, from which I take the following quote:

'For more than a century, gardens were an important part of everyday life for officers, families, and prisoners confined to Alcatraz by sentence or duty. Many of the plants selected by these unheralded gardeners proved to be excellent choices for the harsh and barren environment, flourishing through the four decades of neglect that followed the prison’s closing.
Before & After: looking over the Rose Terrace
Alcatraz’s current visitors experience an island that is alive with colorful plants gathered decades ago from around the world, and complemented by newly introduced plants. These historic gardens not only illustrate the importance of gardens to the human spirit, but also the ecological benefits and aesthetic possibilities of sustainable gardening.

Officers’ Row, Overlooking Middle Foundation
Through the Alcatraz Historic Gardens Project, the partner organizations preserve, rebuild, and maintain the gardens created by those who lived on the island during its military and prison eras, and interpret their history, horticulture, and cultural significance for visitors.'

And should you wish to help restore and care for this most unusual of historic gardens, then there is a volunteer programme for you to join.

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