Twenty-Third and Hampshire Street Garden Something to Behold

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Gardening is often praised for the beauty it creates, as well as the benefits it provides the gardener in terms of mental clarity and stress relief. Mission Creek resident Maria Suarez, 75, is a great-grandmother who takes recreational gardening seriously, using the pastime to achieve personal tranquility and to give her neighbors an eyeful.

Suarez’s front yard features trees, plants, and flowers that sprawl around her house and front gate, creating a lovely patch of nature amidst the surrounding urban landscape. The garden reflects her other hobby, of trinket collecting, together creating a whimsical, dreamlike scene featuring compact disks dangling from trees, children’s toys emerging from bushes, and toy rodents stampeding across railings.

For the past twenty years Suarez has regularly maintained her garden. During the drought she’s added the daily task of collecting recycled water from her home – from dishwashing; baths – to water the plants.

Although her yard requires significant work to maintain, it’s a joyful activity for her, an expression of her life experiences and precious memories. Every piece of her garden represents a first birthday, a family reunion, or some other special moment with her four children, nine grandchildren, and two great grandchildren, who she describes as her, “pride and joy.”

Suarez’s home also expresses her values with family portraits and memorabilia exhibited . PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF STEVEN MOSS SAN FRANCISCO CENTER FOR THE BOOK PRESENTS THE 12TH ANNUAL D A O SAN FRANCISCO CENTER FOR THE BOOK PRESENTS HOLIDAY BOOK ARTS R

Suarez’s precious family memories and unique sense of beauty can also be found throughout her home. Plants, toys, and family pictures fill the walls, shelves, and every other space of her interior, creating a chaotic beauty that’s spills out into her yard.

“I see the beauty and value in all things…,” said Suarez. “My garden has brought me so much tranquility, and I hope to share that with everyone that passes by.”

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