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Garden With Plants From All Over the Globe Coming to Fort Greene Park

 A rendering of the Outer Seed Shadow garden at Fort Greene Park.
A rendering of the Outer Seed Shadow garden at Fort Greene Park.
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New York City Parks Department

FORT GREENE — A garden in the shape of Brooklyn — with plants as diverse as its population — is taking root at Fort Greene Park this summer.

The Outer Seed Shadow project, designed and curated by artist Juanli Carrion, will feature an assortment of plants that represent the various nationalities of residents across the borough.

The 16-by-14-foot garden is slated to be installed at the plaza at Myrtle Avenue and Washington Park this May, and operate from June to October.

Carrion will interview two foreign-born residents from each district about how they got to Brooklyn. The interviewees will then select a plant that represents their native country to go in the space for their neighborhood in the garden.

 An aerial view of the Outer Seed Shadow garden in Manhattan.
An aerial view of the Outer Seed Shadow garden in Manhattan.
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New York City Parks Department

Each plant will be identified by a sign with the name of the interviewee and the species chosen. The video interviews that go with each plant will then be posted to OuterSeedShadow.org.

Jennifer Lantzas, the Parks Department’s public art coordinator, said part of the beauty of the project was figuring out how plants that are suited for different environments can coexist.

“There’s aloe next to a fern, which has very different growing conditions,” Lantzas said. “It’s trying to figure out the best way that they both can grow and be healthy.” 

Lantzas said Carrion will work with groups like Green Girls, a conservation program for middle school girls, to host educational programs about global politics and immigration through an environmental lens. They’ll work on projects to help the plants thrive, such as building shade structures for species that can’t survive in direct sunlight.

Carrion will also work with community gardeners from nearby housing projects to maintain the garden. 

The garden will double as seating for those who are strolling by — parkgoers will be able to sit on the wood used to contain the plants.

Once the season is over, residents can adopt the plants for free. Leftover plants, soil, compost and wood will go to NYC Parks GreenThumb to create composting boxes.

The project is being funded by the Fort Greene Park Conservancy, the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership and the Brooklyn Arts Council

The garden at Fort Greene Park will be similar to Carrion’s first Outer Seed Shadow garden, which he installed in 2014 at Manhattan’s Duarte Square, on Canal Street and Sixth Avenue.

The project is named after a term used in plant migration. The outer seed shadow is a region where there’s an influx of seeds, but due to adverse conditions, plant growth is complicated and there are less representatives of a species.

Carrion is currently looking for residents to interview for the Fort Greene Park garden. To participate, email project@outerseedshadow.org.