Last July, we published a story on the final crop of the Temple Garden on the 1700 block of 15th Street NW. The community garden, which opened in 1990, is on the grounds of the headquarters of the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite Masons, located between R and S Streets, and between 15th and 16th Streets NW.
The Masons are currently undertaking a large project inside the temple and need the extra space for storage. Thus, the garden has been closed since the start of construction in November 2011. This week earth-moving equipment appeared in the gardens.
This undertaking has caused a bit of concern with community members. In fact, the Temple Garden board even submitted a letter suggesting alternative solutions, but no agreement was reached. Because of this, construction trucks and cranes began the removal work while the garden remains closed.
In the past 20 years, the popular community garden was a haven for city dwellers with a green thumb in search of a place to cultivate flowers, herbs and vegetables. In fact, the quarter acre site was such an enduring part of the neighborhood that it had its own website and rules.
Plots in the garden were reserved for DC residents who didn’t have a place to garden, and preferences were given to those residents in the 20005, 20009 and 20036 zip codes.
So tell us, how has the loss of the garden affected you this spring? Will you be short of flowers, basil, peppers and a creative outlet?
From Luis Gomez and Matty Rhoades
The Temple Garden on 15th Street NW had an open house on Saturday, giving locals a chance to meander among tomatoes, basil, rose bushes, garlic, sunflowers and a plethora of other vegetables, herbs and flowers.
There was iced tea, lemonade and dips made with herbs from the garden. The garden plots are available to area residents who have no space for outdoor gardening; preference is given residents in the 20005, 20009 and 20036 zip codes.
What’s in Yonan’s Garden Plot?
Washington Post food editor is among the plot holders. “This is my third season in the garden, after waiting almost three years for a plot. I shared it with former Post food writer, Jane Black, for two seasons, until she left D.C. last fall,” Yonan said.
What’s in Yonan’s plot? A lot!
- Herbs: basil, oregano, sage, lemon balm, lovage, flat leaf parsley, lavender.
- Greens: curly kale, rainbow chard.
- Chile peppers: habanero, jalapeño, Thai.
- Tomatoes: yellow grape, purple Cherokee.
- Summer squash.
- Wild strawberries.
Garden Scheduled to Close
Located between R and S Streets on the grounds of the headquarters of the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite Masons, the garden opened in 1990. It is slated to close after this fall’s harvest (see Temple Garden to Close After 2011 Harvest). The Masons are undertaking a large project inside the temple and need the space for storage. The garden opened in 1990.
However, on July 1, the Temple Garden board sent a letter to the Masons suggesting several alternatives. One request is to simply keep the garden open as is, while others include a smaller garden, a temporary closing, as well as a month-to-month agreement.
From Mike Kohn. Got some news for Mike? Drop him an email or find him on Twitter @mike_kohn.
Temple Garden Open House
We reported a few months back that the Temple Garden, “a local community garden on property owned by the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry at 1733 16th Street NW, will be closing after the 2011 harvest.” The Temple Garden will be hosting an open house next Saturday, July 16 and is inviting the whole neighborhood to come out for tours and samples of the garden’s produce. It’ll be a family friendly event too, so bring the kids. All of the proceeds from the event will go toward the effort of saving the garden. You can learn more about how the community is striving to work with the Temple to preserve the garden on their Facebook page.
Borderstan has learned that The Temple Garden, a local community garden on property owned by the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry at 1733 16th Street NW, will be closing after the 2011 harvest. The garden is on the 15th Street side of their property between R and S Streets NW.
In a letter to garden President David Rosner, the president of the The House of the Temple Historic Preservation Foundation, Ronald Seale said, “In connection with certain conservation efforts we are undertaking at the House of the Temple building, we need to use the garden lots as a staging, parking and storage area.”
In the letter, Seale went on to say “although the garden area of our property will be closed, we will continue to be a responsible and contributing member of the neighborhood.” The Freemason’s House of the Temple building and the residential Chastleton building are neighborhood icons that respectively anchor the north and south corners of the eastside of the 16th Street between R and S Streets.
David Rosner, president of the Temple Garden told Borderstan:
“We are deeply saddened to learn that the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, House of the Temple has announced that it will close its community garden on 15th and S Streets NW at the end of 2011. The Temple Garden has been a community institution since 1990. An estimated 800 individuals have at one time or another tended plots in the Temple Garden, and we currently have over 100 members tending more than 75 plots. The Temple Garden has always been supportive of activities and initiatives on the part of the Scottish Rite, and we hope to continue to be so. The gardening community hopes to be able to work with the Scottish Rite to find a solution that enables the garden to continue to support the community.”