Each of our "Community Gardens" emerged from a past form we inherited and combined with the seasonal movements of our work.
"The Warehouse" and "Chenango" were formerly native plant gardens left behind and untended by past tenants. We added some leftover sod at a couple different times to give some shape and used leftover plants and divided perennials to fill the space. Small Arborvitae and spreading Juniper I got at the November Home Depot clearance for $5 each and 4 large upright Juniper we used as Christmas decor last winter fill the space with evergreen materials. I admit to having bought a couple Yarrow and some herbs used last season in the caffe's containers were moved here permanently before the winter.
Utica Street - OH! IF I HAD BEFORE PICTURES (sometimes production moves faster than the storyteller) - was an abandoned space completely covered over with weed trees, a large Catalpa, 2 Norway Maples, and a Tree of Heaven. We removed those first, eliminated the broken concrete driveway to the back and added a single permeable paver parking space ("Utica Street" is my house, so, its a tad more capital intensive). The front is a collection of plants, each with their own story, and the back is a series of borders to define living space for the now shared backyard between the two houses of the garden - 593 & 589. We agreed to take down the fence between us to create a larger space.
At 377 the owner asked us to quickly rescue the front foundation planting from nearly being overrun with weeds last summer. It had a Hydrangea, a single Rose, and a large patch of Iris. I watched from around the corner as the maintenance plan failed to keep up. So, this spring I proposed to "just take care of it" in return for the play space.
The backyard was unmown weeds and a rubble pile along the back fence. We dug in a border bed first and moved in a couple salvaged Forsythia and Shasta Daisy in. As other Heirloomy shrubs turned up - 3 Lilac and 2 Mockorange - they were moved there for a small shrubbery "screen" to contain the backyard space. A couple flats of annuals found their way in at the end of May - Straw Flower, Calendula, Zinnia, Mini Dahlia - and we just bought a couple Ninebark and three or four perennials (all with value as cut flowers) to give a sense of completion.
The lawn - well - with some quick regrading , adding some soil to low spots, a couple organic fertilizings, and a bunch of watering...I think we have made 377 look like a cared for and enjoyable space.
Landscape designer and Proprietor of Buffalo Horticulture