BLAIR ANTHONY ROBERTSON / brobertson@sacbee.com

Michael Nunes, a 25-year-old Sacramento City College student, has taken over the guerrilla garden started by Amy Parker, left.

Land Park guerrilla garden finds new caretaker in Sacramento City College student

Published: Tuesday, Jul. 23, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1D
Last Modified: Thursday, Sep. 5, 2013 - 10:03 pm

Amy Parker's guerrilla garden in Land Park will live on.

And Sacramento's newest guerrilla gardener, an earnest 25-year-old college student raised on a farm, has big plans for a once-rundown, overlooked eyesore that Parker turned into a quasi-legal, visually appealing plot with some 40 drought-tolerant plants.

Parker, a veterinarian and garden enthusiast who will soon be moving to Southern California, had been looking for a volunteer to take over the garden.

She put up a "help wanted" sign at the garden on Sutterville Road near Interstate 5. And after The Bee wrote about her search in a July 16 story, Michael Nunes jumped at the chance.

Parker and Nunes met, and with the same unofficial spirit as the garden itself, agreed to the transfer of responsibility.

"I go on walks here all the time," said Nunes, a Sacramento City College student who hails from Auburn. "I saw the sign out here and then I saw the article in the paper. I said, 'All right, I've got to respond to this.' "

The small garden, once overrun with weeds, had been a dumping ground for trash and debris until 3 1/2 years ago, when Parker decided to clean it up and put in some plants.

Like other so-called guerrilla gardens, she didn't get anyone's permission.

Her only motivation? Make the neighborhood look a little better.

Parker had said she was prepared to dig up the plants and take them with her if she couldn't find a caretaker, fearing the shrubs, flowers and succulents would die.

She said she's no longer worried about their future.

"This feels great," Parker said. "It feels like a lot of people are invested in this. Finding somebody who is motivated and young is super exciting for me."

Nunes has already started a compost pile. He began clearing more weeds to expand the garden and has a vision for a bench installed under a shade tree.

He's hoping more folks will get involved. The garden, Parker and Nunes agree, belongs to everyone.

"Just earlier when we were out here," Nunes said, "a biker went by and yelled, 'Thank you for maintaining this.' "

Call The Bee's Blair Anthony Robertson, (916) 321-1099. Follow him on Twitter @blarob.

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