The Art of Peace Gardens

Peace Garden signIn Sebastopol there is a Peace Garden: I know because my Mom was one of the “hippies” who thought of the idea and planted it over 30 years ago. Actually, she planted it as a member of the EarthStewards group. I have photos of Mom and the founder Danaan Parry hugging. I went to the garden this past Spring, since Mom had died, based on a very distant memory of it.

I saw the first few flowers in the 1980’s in that garden, and thought they’d die without water within one year, or get uprooted by the terrifying Sebastopol Gophers; the flowers were so small and fragile.  I was that pessimistic about how much Mom and her group could do when I was young. Although I wanted peace as much as everyone else. The Berlin Wall was still up, and wars never seemed to end in the Middle East. You won’t believe what I found ….

I found a remarable and mature garden, beautiful and peaceful,  just as Mom would have envisioned it:  I felt immediately at home, it is full of Mom-ness-ness.  (I made up that word.) The tree, once a seedling in the center that the gophers were ready to uproot, survived and is about 50 feet wide, mature and sheltering.  There is even signs of peace, and a board for peace messages, just as Mom would have  wanted. A dryad statue that has grown into the tree. To clarify, Mom wasn’t that religious, but she was very politically minded, liked to talk about Mother Nature, and definitely a Democrat.  Mom wanted peace on earth and to nurture people, more than anything else.

In fact, I saw that someone posted a letter in the garden thanking the original planters. That letter of thanks “reached home” in my heart, I loved it.  Here is the anonymous letter:

Peace Garden letter

“To those who saw the need for this Peace Garden to exist, thank you!

I used to think this was just some hippie Earth worshipping spot. Then someone I loved deeply died. I found myself wondering the Regan Trails aimlessly with tears in my eyes. Suddenly this peace garden became a safe place to cry to grieve to mourn.

I am not sure how long I will feel this heartbroken but this garden helped. Thank you.”

Twenty years ago, nine of my nephews used to come and play on those stone slabs. The boys are all grown up now, and Mom has died. But the garden grows on….

Open the gallery to see the pictures larger:

Do you know of other Peace Gardens (or similar community gardens)? If so, please share links to them, or name them in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “The Art of Peace Gardens

  1. Irene, how lovely to read this post. I remember when Lia and the other Sonoma County Earthstewards created this garden. I last visited it when the Earthstewards had a reunion there in 2004. Your piece brings back such sweet memories, especially the “mom-ness-ness” or I would say the Lia-ness-ness. Many blessings. I’m so happy the garden is creating more peace today.

  2. Dear Irene, I was very moved to read your letter about Lia’s Peace Garden. So recognizable Lia. Indeed Mom-ness-ness! (Lia-ness-ness).What a good word! You had a very special and idealistic mother and I have so many nice memories! It was nice to read about you as well! Thank you so much you thought of me! Very warm greetings, Ineke PS you can write to me if you like!

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