Debbie Arrington

Seeds: New community garden sprouting in midtown

City work crews put in the framework for Sacramento’s newest community garden, at 19th and Q streets in midtown.
City work crews put in the framework for Sacramento’s newest community garden, at 19th and Q streets in midtown.

Midtown residents are about to get a new opportunity to put down roots.

At the southwest corner of 19th and Q streets, a community garden is sprouting out of weeds as part of the new Brooks Truitt Park. Bordered by light rail lines, the odd-shaped parcel also will be home to a new dog park and a 3,000-square-foot plaza for community gatherings.

Demand for a new community garden in midtown has been building for several years. Fremont Garden, at 14th and Q streets, has a four-year waiting list for new members.

City crews have been rushing to construct concrete borders and build raised beds for the Truitt community garden, the 14th in Sacramento’s program. To comply with a grant deadline, the work must be completed by March 31, according to Bill Maynard, the city’s community garden coordinator.

The beds will be filled with soil and ready by early April, just in time for spring planting. In addition, the Truitt garden will have a tool shed, compost bins, seating area for breaks or lunch, small orchard and herb garden. The paths will be wheelchair accessible. The garden is named after the longtime midtown activist who fought to protect historic sites around the city and died in 2014 at age 89.

Maynard is accepting requests from Sacramento residents who would like to have a plot in the Truitt garden. Those names will be placed in a lottery for 25 plots, each 10 by 10 feet. In addition, three raised plots will be reserved for gardeners with disabilities.

The fee is a real bargain: $25 a year (including water). There’s also a refundable $25 cleaning deposit.

To get your name in the lottery, send an email to Maynard at or call him at 916-808-4943. In the email, write “19th & Q street garden” in the subject line and include your name, address, phone number and email address.

Maynard also has a few openings in other community gardens around town. If you’re interested, drop him a line.

Vintage beauties

As any gardener on a mailing list knows, seed catalogs entice with beautiful photos of perfect plants. Every flower looks breathtaking. Every vegetable gleams with bumper-crop potential.

This tradition began in the mid-1800s, but back then it was romanticized illustrations that caught a gardener’s eye. About the same time miners were flocking to California, large commercial nurseries started marketing exotic as well as more common flowers with richly detailed drawings of impossibly gorgeous blooms. These early seed catalogs stoked a then-new American passion: ornamental gardening.

In honor of this flowery chapter in American history, the U.S. Postal Service released a series of “Botanical Art” Forever stamps. Debuting Jan. 29 at the American Philatelic Society’s AmeriStamp Expo in Atlanta, the new stamps (priced at 49 cents apiece, the current cost of first-class postage) are available at post offices nationwide or online at

Featuring 10 images, the series used lush, idealized illustrations from seed catalogs originally printed between 1891 and 1912. These catalogs are part of the New York Botanical Garden’s collection, one of the nation’s largest.

These blooms may be vintage, but the spring flowers they show are still familiar favorites with today’s gardeners. They include three depictions of tulips, plus jonquils, dahlias, roses, stocks, Japanese irises, petunias and corn lilies.

Posted on mail, these flowery stamps will once again offer a breath of spring beauty, just like those seed catalogs. Now, where can I order some of those striped tulips?

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