The original Demonstration Garden is at its peak. Many folks would expect a garden to look beautiful - a better word for the Demo Garden would be productive. The beds are full of food, growing and ripening, soon to be harvested and to serve folks who are hungry.
The new Annex isn’t quite as productive yet, although five raised beds are growing food and the bi-weekly delivery of food regularly includes squash from the annex. Perhaps half of the perennial beds have been planted, with those remaining waiting for the fall weather. The word for the Annex might be “different”, or perhaps the phrase “coming along nicely”. Although the many recently installed plants are a pleasure to see, it will take time for them to grow, fill out, and truly make this a garden.
The original Demonstration Garden is nicely placed to be seen by anyone visiting the Green Thumb site. Folks walking in the driveway regularly stop and look at the beds, and often walk in for a closer look. The Annex will never have this advantage. It is a longish walk from the pedestrian entrance, and will take a bit more determination by the potential visitor to be seen. Our requirement by Portland Parks and Recreation to lock that gate when we aren’t working will further limit visitors. What is a demonstration garden that isn’t seen?
Our recent presence on the “Share Your Garden” Tour pointed out that attracting visitors will not be easy. There were 20 people, which sounds like a lot at first, but 8 were regular workers at the Annex. Four more were volunteers who regularly work at the original demo garden. Only one group of three walked in from the new pedestrian gate. The rest had visited the original garden and walked over from there.
To make the Annex a successful demonstration garden, this problem needs to be solved. Signage will help, and that is planned. Classes and workshops will help, and they too are planned. It will take more than that. Many Portlanders know that it is worth finding Leach Botanical Gardens, although it is out of the way. How can we establish a similar knowledge that the walk through the orchard from 57th avenue will definitely be worthwhile?