Ode to the Comgard


Fully prepared to start off this post begging Boston for some sunshine, it seems like my unspoken wishes have come true in that it finally stopped raining today! A Sunshine State girl at heart, I love a good warm day - a day you can spend outside, preferably consumed by a garden or the like. Today, as a respite from all the rainy days, I'm thinking about all those sun-filled (honestly rather scorching) days spent outside. More specifically, though, this a post dedicated to the Comgard - a place I wasn't quite the local or frequenter of, but an appreciator nonetheless. 

The Comgard affectionately stands for Community Garden, and was coined by people who are probably the human embodiments of sunshine. In order to give this post the veritable backbone it needed, I pulled up a picnic chair and talked to these gals about the Comgard, which apparently is a "lifestyle choice." 

Coiner of the term (is that even a phrase)? Probably Cat, fellow Miamian and my pseudo-sister here on campus. Given that Cat, along with Maeve and Laura (two other gems), was living on campus this summer, she and friends passed by the Lowell Community Garden to and from work. Over the summer, the garden bustled with creatures ranging from typical fauna to groups of college students gathering over Otto's pizza and lounging - as college students often do. 

The term apparently stemmed from (hehe, plant pun) calling the Cambridge Commons "Cam Com" and the desire to add casual lingo to any and all meeting spaces. The Comgard became home to BYOL's (bring your own lunches) and general conversation. Conveniently located right where giant (and I mean GIANT) tourist busses drop off/pick up, the Comgard is a great place for people watching and "chirping the tourists." Apparently, it's also a great on-the-go snack spot for some students, as one student who will remain un-named, rip up some radishes for a quick nom on the way home from class. 

The openness of the Comgard adds to its welcoming vibe - inviting any and all passerby's that are recognized by Comgard locals or are just in the mood for a sit 'n snack. Over the summer, a school teacher from a nearby conference even lounged with Cat and Maeve because they "just looked so peaceful." If we're talking quotes, the best one I gathered from my convos with the core trio had to be from Maeve:

"Summer was so scattered and you could just plant yourself [in the Comgard] and see people walk through. There was a constant rotation - you could meet new friends or even nab people from late night Insomnia runs." 

But Maeve didn't stop the plant puns there. When I talked to Laura about her favorite aspect of the Comgard, she said it was a place where, "friendships flourished" - to which Maeve interjected, "friendships BLOSSOMED! C'mon Laura." 

While the Lowell Comgard may have been the birthplace of the term, it definitely isn't the sole member of the movement. Curiously, on a summer adventure to Blackbird donuts, Cat and I stumbled upon an incredible Comgard. It spanned for what seemed like forever, and was speckled with individual gardens on either side of the main artery. We spotted flowers of every variety, little tomatoes, and seized the opportunity for some quick pics as we waited for the bus to continue that day's adventure. 

Even though I'm sad to say I missed lounging in the Harvard Comgard on the daily when I had the chance (the onset of this cold and gloomy weather makes it seem like Comgard days are coming to a close), I can't help but think of all the times community gardens and just open, public spaces have been a part of my life. Growing up in Miami, I'd say the city was just one big garden. But if that wasn't enough, there was always a nearby park or even Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden to satiate my need for fresh flowers and the buzzing of the insects that inevitably tag along. I even remember the importance of community gardening in elementary school as a component of my Montessori education - tending to a garden helped us connect with our surroundings and learn responsibility for our community. And I'm happy to report that the local Boston flora is proving to be just as satisfactory!

So if the vibrant colors of the flowers, the tempting aroma of the home-grown treats, or simply the community of the Comgard movement doesn't pull you in, I'd strongly consider re-reading this post or meeting Cat, Maeve, and Laura. They'll sell you on the Comgard so quickly, you won't even be able to say BYOL. 

Xx, Maia