The garden from all sides

Dan Watman

Pictures of some of the things I saw and did at and around the Bi-national Friendship Garden of Native Plants located inside Friendship Park this Jan 20-24

After being away for 4 weeks, I got up early on Wed Jan 20th and jammed over to the garden.

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First I checked out the Food beds, They looked great!   They were created in October of last year as a pilot program called “Realimenta Comunidad” (Community Feedback) to help homeless living in Yogurt Canyon and under the Board Walk and to promote the concept of people growing their own food.   I thought it’d be a good idea to harvest the veggies and give them out at the Border Church on Sunday and my coleagues with Cultiva YA!  approved (see pics near the bottom for Sunday’s activities)

Brocolli looking yummy ready to harvest.
Strawberries not out yet.

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Cleaning up the garden circles on Wed Jan 20th





I saw helicopter take off from Monument Mesa. Here’s a video

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Going out to the garden on the US side on Sat Jan 23rd.

The Eco staging/education area at the entrance to Border Field Sate Park in progress being built out of trash (discarded tires more than anything) by 4walls International with some volunteer help from Surfrider.

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The nature walk out through the estuary at Border Field.

An Artemisia Californica
Border Patrol does this. They mow down areas of the estuary to make it easier for them to access.
Clothes that washed over or were left by a migrant.


The vehicle road that is flooded half or more of the year to get out to Friendship Park from US side.

The canopy has been removed over the picnic tables on Monument Mesa.

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Arriving at Friendship Park.

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Agent Staples let me in to work in the garden but wasn’t allowing the public in today.  There was some trash and weeds.


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IMG_1164IMG_1155 This is an invasive but I left one just cause it looks pretty.


The Bladder Pod is doing great. Made a comeback with the rains. It’s about 4 years old.
Saying high to Humberto

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Tijuana Christian Mission. I had met them the Wed before and gave them a detailed explanation of the area. They were fascinated and came back on their last day in the area on Sat before heading back to Indiana.


This metal is used to keep birds away and fell from the top of the Border Patrol watch tower.


The walk back out on Sat

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Sunday from the Mex side.  I brought some plates and some people with the Border Church helped me harvest the vegetables in the garden and we served salad with the Pozole.

Lots of families were meeting through the fence.  Still no access allowed to the garden on US side.

The lonely garden on US side.

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Lots of families meeting Beautiful day.  Here people separated by immigration status travel from all parts of the US and Mexico to be together through this barrier.  Nearly every Saturday and Sunday there are mothers that haven’t seen their sons in 10 years, brothers and sisters who grew up separated from each other, and grandparents meeting their grand children for the first time.

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Adriana and Pedro just like the garden. They live in Playas and sporadically swing by to help clean it up and do what they can to keep it up.



The birds mocking are barriers.


In prep of the salad and pozole to be served, I went into Yogurt Canyon about 300 yds East of the garden to see if anyone was hungry. A few living there came up.  They’ve been having a hard time with the recent rains and cold. They camp there, waiting for an opportunity to cross.  The ones I know, have been living there for four months now.

The people living in the canyon started their own little huertito.

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Lots a great greens

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The garden greens were served after the Border Church that meets every Sunday at Friendship Park

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State of (some) of the plants in the garden/ Plant inventory – Taken Jan 20th-24th

Cherry tree planted in Nov 2014. Doing ok. Seems like it should be bigger by now. It did get stepped or something about 6 months ago and lost half or more of it’s height.
I moved this Encelia so it wouldn’t be in the pathway (by BP request) about 8 months ago. I spent two days digging up the roots. Some were probably 20 ft long. It looks like it’s gonna make it in it’s new spot.
Agave Shawii’s doing great. Planted about 4 years ago.
For some reason a lot of the Salvia Apianas (White Sages) are half dired up. This one and most were planted about 4 years ago.
This malosma is about 4 years old and I’m a little worried. It normally has some “burning” from the sea breeze but this is much more than I’ve seen. Although it’s still got some green on the side that’s not exposed to the ocean.
This Malosma Laurin belongs to Mateo as part of the children’s native plant adoption program. He hasn-t been watering it enough but it might still make it.
This Rhus Integrifolia, Lemon Berry bush is looking pretty healthy. Planted March 2015.
A baby oak tree planted in March of 2015. Looks it might make it.
This Coyote Brush seems to be doing pretty well although I wonder why the bottom is dried up.
This is an oak tree. It’s just a twig you can’t even make out. I don’t think it’s going to make it. It was planted a year ago now. I’m leaving it through the rainy season on the off chance.


Toyon. The bigges heartiest plant in the garden. Planted 4 years ago, I believe
Toyon berries.



Throughout 2015 there were events to remind us of the importance of having this Park as a place to share emotions and feelings on both sides of the fence. From Dia de Reyes, Dia del Niño, Fandango Fronterizo, Homenaje al Veterano Deportado, Dia de la Madre, Papalotes, the Posada, to the Ecumenical service every Sunday, the Park served as a place to bring people together during all of these holidays and special occasions.


Sometimes the families were allowed to go to the bi national garden to see their relatives without having the mesh between them, but there was still a large space dividing them.


We had the opportunity to see smiles, laughs, joy, tears, grief, and distress…


We had the opportunity to witness how families suffer trying to get to Friendship Park. For some of us, the route is our Sunday routine, a way to meditate, to make friends, to discuss actual events, to exercise but for some of the families the road means anguish, time lost instead of being with their relatives, a walk full of effort carrying little ones or pushing strollers through the flooded roads and trails.


We had the opportunity to greet our weekend-friends on the American side of the fence … and on the Mexican side of the fence, we touched the tip of their fingers and they touched our hearts with their stories and tribulation.


We had the opportunity to see the volunteer attorneys who once a month provided legal advice to deported and disadvantage people who were looking for some help in the Mexican side of the fence.


2016 is here and we wish Friendship Park could continue to be a sanctuary for divided families to see their loved ones.