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Esta es una Plaza!

¡Hola Jardineros!
Let us take a walk with Alberto Peralta to „Esta es una Plaza“ in Madrid, an urban garden in the vicinity of the Medialab Prado. The clouds hang low in the skies today,  people huddle under their umbrellas, yet, here at Calle Doctor Fourquet, 24, we hear the sounds of sawing, talk and footsteps in sandy puddles….

The community garden „Esta es una plaza“ existed for almost 40 years as páramo (uncultivated ground) but ca. 10 years ago the locals decided to turn it into a garden place. There was, as my guide Alberto told me, even some financial encouragement rained onto the gardeners but their decision was to stay as independent as possible… so there is even now some money left from this. [amazing!!!]

The garden is about 1000 square meters big, enclosed by partly decorated brick walls, sprouting a fair number of young fruit trees, carefully tended plots, self-built constructions for work, eat and shelter, paths, a playground, and even a theatre at the end of the premises. The garden’s core community has about 30 active members but not all of them are gardeners. Some take care of the buildings and constructions, others are dedicated to logistics or mastering the outdoor kitchen or both when it comes to sharing the harvests of the plots: Lunch and dinner parties are arranged in the course of summer and autumn each year.

A striking feature are the wall paintings that also illustrate the garden’s community practice: Whoever wants to contribute to „Esta es una Plaza“ does so by introducing his or her idea – and then (in most cases) gets granted a time/space/place to realize it. Visual artists choose their location and are free to work up to 6 months on a piece. The large wooden chart that illustrates our gardens’ hexapods was created was created 4 years ago, by Zeeba, a biologist. Workshops, concerts and theatre plays are arranged in quite a similar manner… and certainly some of them are also responsible for the DIY garden art works strewn all over the place.

Quite a specialty of the place is its cactus garden, thought up and maintained by Antonio Alfaro. Hundreds of carefully planted and cared for specimens live here, interspersed with other succulents and – as a second glimpse reveals – a number unobtrusive,  charming artifacts… una lagartija (lizard)… un erizo (hedgehog)… and more. The amazing knowledge at display in this cactus plantation is easily explained: Antonio is a member of the „Cactófilos“ or in other words the ASOCIACIÓN CACTUS Y SUCULENTAS DE MADRID :)

With all of this going on for more than a decade it is maybe no surprise that „Esta es una Plaza“ attracted the radio collective of Radio Hortelana! In 2014 they staged a live radio event on-site, with interviews, concerts, talks and also a blog, that links to their podcasts.

I’ll write to them,  stay put for more radio gardening news within the next days & weeks. Definitively forthcoming and covered in this blog:

  • An international short film festival about urban gardening!
  • Humus Film Festival starting on the 16th of March 2018!
  • In Madrid at La Casa Encendida
  • Open Call still open until 5th of March

Thank you Alberto, for sharing this!


This post is also available in: German

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