< Go to main website for Streets Alive

Secret Garden

Katie McCann

donated to the city of Berkeley by: Ecology Center Farmers Markets & Assembly member Nancy Skinner

I created a design inspired by the book ‘The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Mary, the main character in the book, describes her secret garden as being like a “kind of fairy place” and when she was in the garden, she felt that no one knew where she was. Berkeley is full of secret gardens. Behind walls and fences and down strange little alley ways, there is an abundance of flora and fauna and no doubt lots of fairies.

My collage work focuses very much on the strong ties between humans, animals and plants. Many of my ‘fairy ladies’ are a patchwork of birds, insects and flowers. So, in the design for this box, I wanted to include some of that imagery but in a way that reflected the city itself.

I chose wildlife and plants that are found here in Berkeley - the hare, the Monarch Butterfly, the Magnolia Tree, trailing Jasmine and a lady bug. The ladies in my design are Long Billed Curlews, found at the Berkeley Waterfront.

Since ‘Sustainability’ was my theme, I used collage to create the design. The skirts and tree branches are cut up from Trader Joe’s grocery bags and the other paper I used is up-cycled from The East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse. I also included aspects of Berkeley’s relationship with growing and selling local fruit and vegetables. The two side panels show various fruits within the branch pattern and on the back panel, the two Ladies are holding a carrot and a
pumpkin. These symbols also link to the Downtown Farmer’s Market where my box is situated.

As in the book ‘The Secret Garden” Berkeley’s natural beauty is preserved by respecting nature and sharing its bounties. On the front panel facing Center Street, the Lady Bird is holding a ‘B’ in her hand - this this represents the key to the Garden of Berkeley, to be enjoyed and experienced by all.

View the list of Streets Alive! boxes.


 © Earth Island Institute. All rights reserved.