CT Community Gardening Association

Featured Gardens - 2008

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Laurel Corner Neighborhood Association

We are neighbors who live near the corner of Laurel Street and Farmington Avenue in Hartford, CT. We have been working on Laurel Corner for five years now, improving the urban landscape and trying to create stronger community life in the neighborhood.

The social activity of the area reflects the deeply entrenched problems of lack of education, broken family structure, and limited job opportunity that challenge many of the residents of this neighborhood. The Mark Twain Branch Library located on our corner provides a much needed stabilizing factor, helping our community resist the influence of local crime.
This is a before and after shot of our corner over the years. In spring of 2003 the corner’s landscape was bare and littered. Planters were built on the corner and filled with flower seedlings. That fall a youth was murdered on the corner, shocking the neighborhood. The before picture shows the memorial that was created in November, 2003. The after picture shows how Laurel Corner looks now!

The Knox Parks Foundation and the Farmington Avenue Alliance have been our biggest supporters through all the years. The Greater Hartford Arts Council, the Mark Twain Library, NINA, the Knox Foundation, the Evelyn Preston Fund, and Connectikids have also supported our projects, as have many local neighbors. We thank everyone!

Laurel Corner before
2003: Bare dirt, broken glass and a memorial to a youth murdered on the corner.

Laurel Corner after
2005: Merchants and community volunteers have planted grass and flowers.

Connectikids working hard
Connectikids are helping in spring of 2007 to improve the planter soil. They really worked hard that day!

Loosening the soil
Digging up the hardpacked soiled in preparation for planting grass.
All the areas that were bare dirt and broken glass are now green, green grass.

Neighbors planting seedlings
Neighbors planting seedlings in the spring.

Mark Twain cherry blossums
This weeping cherry tree was planted many years ago in memory of Librarian Marge Addison, who worked at the Mark Twain branch for over 35 years. It blooms wonderously every year, and slowly we have added additional tulips, daffodils, iris, and crocus that bloom each spring. You can see the Mark Twain Branch Library in the background.

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