The gazebo is here!

and it’s beautiful. Designed by architect and garden member, Joe Przybyl, and constructed under the supervision of contractor and garden member, Adam Gonzalez, our vision has become a reality! You are invited to come enjoy it any time.  Here’s some photos of our progress, in reverse order.gazebo completed


IMG_462657511 (1)The bid for sealing the the pergola was over $1,000, so the architect did it himself.  Imagine how hot it got in that jumpsuit in early September in Houston!





gazebo during framing Here’s a photo during the framing phase, above.

Below is a snapshot of the foundation phase prolonged due to heavy summer rains:gaz foundation

The initial vision stage: Note that the stonework around the columns and bed will be completed later.gazebo1

Thank you, Lovett Homes, for your generous donation!

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Sunflower House Party July 16, 2015

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Garden members enjoy a Cucumber Pisco Cocktail before the sunflowers fade. sunflower hose party wendy  7-16-15



Cocktails proved to be a great way to use the end of the season cucumbers. Click here for cucumber pisco cocktail recipe

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SOLD OUT: Outstanding Dinner in the Garden

The wheels are in motion for ouroutstanding2 next outdoor party. This is the fancy –but not formal–one on one long table. Tickets for our table for 80 is SOLD OUT.

Last year we had the most marvelous party in the garden. Set outside in
October when the weather is typically nice, we set up a long table, dressed in white linens, with simple natural decorations. We hired noted chef and caterer Soren Pederson, who didn’t even blink when we told him we had no kitchen, no water and no electricity. He set up his own cook shop on the open lot. We strung up some paper lanterns, greeted guests with a pink cocktail and passed hors d’ d’oeuvres, poured some wine, and Soren and his waiters served us until well after sunset. Some guests remarked, “This feels like a wedding! I’d be happy if this were my wedding!”outstanding table missy

Usually, large parties are better the second time when the kinks are worked out. But there were no kinks. It was perfect. Too perfect to change. Too perfect not to throw again. So we have hired the same chef to develop and cook another five course menu in the garden.  This year, we have asked Houston Wine Merchant to pair wines to match each of the five courses. And we planned for an even longer table because this is the best party the city has ever seen. If you haven’t bought your ticket already, the bad news is IT IS SOLD OUT. However, there is a waiting list. Email to get on the waiting list.outstanding3


by Soren Pederson

Wines by Scott Spencer of Houston Wine Merchant

1st course / Hors d’oeuvres (passed)

Slow Roasted – Cider Brined Pork Belly

on Sweet Pea Pancake and Red Onion Marmalade

Duck Confit

on Peruvian Potato Tart with Balsamic Cranberries

wine pairing: Sparkling – Toffoli Prosecco (Italy) 


 2nd course / Family style dinner


Chilled Fall Vegetable Gazpacho

With Crispy Crab

paired with Pinot Gris – Scarpetta Pinot Grigio 2013 (Italy)


 3rd Course

Fresh Arugula – Pea Shoot Salad

With Smoked Mozzarella, Roasted Beets, Grilled Apple, Spiced Walnut

And Light Mustard Vinaigrette

paired with Joe Dobbes Pinot Noir ‘Jovino’ 2011


 4th course / Main Course

Grilled, Herb Crusted Trout

With Green Grape Beurre Blanc

Apple Wood Smoked Filet Mignon

With Caramelized Shallot Pan jus

Braised Local Chicken

In Fire Roasted Pepper Stew

Roasted Root Vegetable

With Herb – Grain Mustard Butter

Yukon Potato Au Gratin

With Sharp White Cheddar and Fresh Scallions

paired with Xanthos Proprietary Red Blend 2013 (Sonoma Coast)

 5th course / Dessert

Ginger and Chili Spiked Chocolate Cake

with Plum Compote

Warm Lavender Pound Cake

With Grilled Pear and Sweet Crème Fraiche

wine pairing:  Chateau Suau Sauternes 2006 (France)


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SSP Community Garden Mission: We Not Just About the Parties

As the summer heats up and the neighbors leave on vacation, the garden winds down. Few crops are planted in the heat of the summer. The tomatoes, if there are any left, cook on the vine. Few garden members who are actually still in town want to weed or water in 90+ degree heat.  The party season is over—it’s too hot for an outdoor party and it’s too hard to schedule around everybody’s travel plans. Only the okra are happy in this intense, suffocating heat.

Which gives us time to reflect on the community garden’s mission and progress. One respected garden member commented that we’re really not a serious garden—that we’re doing this “more for fun.” True, we are not a production garden, logging our progress by the number of pounds of produce we grow. On one city lot, we are not going to solve world hunger. True, we are not all interested in becoming Master Gardeners or are fascinated by the subtleties of diagnosing a magnesium vs. a manganese deficiency in the beans. And, true, we do have a lot of exceptional parties. But we also have a mission that we take seriously.

The mission of this garden is to create a beautiful, shared, public space for growing organic fruits and vegetables for residents of Southside Place is donated to local food banks. Planting and harvesting is done by members following a master plan for plant selection, fertilization, and crop rotation. Local schools use the garden for educational purposemar29 party6s. Children learn how plants grow (no, son, carrots do not grow on trees) and learn an appreciation for vegetables that they may someday actually eat. The garden also serves gathering place for picnics and parties.

The garden organization, an affiliate member of Urban Harvest, began February 24, 2013 in a public meeting. We voted to have a communal garden, possibly with some allotted plots for rent by individuals at a later date. The City of Southside Place awarded us the use of one city-owned lot for at least for five years. We became an official 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation effective October 7, 2013 so that charitable contributions are tax-deductible. Since then, we have installed plumbing, built the first eight raised beds and planted and harvested our two years crops. The front and side habitat gardens attract beneficial insects making us a certified butterfly habitat. We built a tool shed, sponsored by Texas Citizens Bank. We have made several deliveries of fresh produce to appreciative, local food banks. We have had several lively fundraising parties and have generated a lot of interest and camaraderie in our community.

So while we’ve had a lot of fun building a productive garden on a vacant city lot, we are not just playing in the dirt. We are growing something meaningful, engaging and sustainable.

We are proud of our accomplishments so far but we continue to build and grow. Here are our plans for this year:

  • Meet in the garden first and third Saturday of each month at 9am; second and fourth Wednesday of each month at 8am to maintain the garden.
  • Construct the new gazebo, sponsored by Lovett Homes
  • Construct two garden gates to demark the front and side entrances
  • Construct and maintain a bulletin board to communicate seasonal planting plans and work to be done
  • Furnish the interior of the shed
  • Build and plant the remaining 5 beds
  • Throw fundraiser parties in October and April
  • Invite children from local daycares to read the book “The Sunflower House” in the sunflower houses

We invite you to get involved. Membership is free. To join, just email Also you may join our facebook group:

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Our vegetable donations as told by Patty Tilton, Treasurer

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Southside Place Community Garden Party 3.0

One thing you can say about the Southside Place Community Garden is that we know how to throw a party.

may 2015 garden party1Our first fundraiser was a Cinco de Mayo party in 2013 before any beds were built. Since then this annual outdoor party has grown in attendance and scope. Patty Tilton, the garden Treasurer, instituted a silent auction at the second party in April, 2014. Now the proceeds of the auction surpass the ticket sales, more than doubling our fundraising efforts. Our third annual fundraising party was Sunday April 26, 2014—a garden party, of course—held on the garden lot. Food was donated by Whole Foods, Edloe Deli, The Union Kitchen, Molina’s and Moeller’s Bakery. The Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt truck arrived and set up shop near the sidewalk. Singer/songwriter J.J Essen provided musical entertainment with vocals andguit ar. Community garden members volunteered their labor and donated beer and wine (special thanks to Ron Shimkus, the Bakers & Jean Roberts!) to make the party a whopping success. Jennifer Anderson thanked Duncan and Michelle Stewart for their donation from Texas Citizen’s Bank to build our lovely new tool shed, which, it turns out, came in handy that night.

may 2015 garden party4

The weather cooperated up until about 7pm when the thunder and lightning got too close for comfort. We scrambled for cover when the rain started, into the new shed and under the tents. The ever resourceful Richard Rothfelder called a fireman to move both fire trucks to the driveway so we could take cover in the firehouse. The singer, perhaps fearing electrocution, quickly moved his stage in the firehouse. Turns out, the acoustics in the firehouse are fantastic. J.J. Essen loved the “reverb” and you could hear him better in the garden even though he was farther away. Perhaps the firehouse can become the future music stage location.

may 2015 garden party2

This year’s auction was the biggest ever, with donations from Breakaway Speed, Alira Day Spa, Bering’s and many other generous local businesses. This year we raised about $4,800 total from this one, casual party and we were delighted to have recruited many more members. Next year, we plan to ask for corporate wine and beer donations and, more importantly, to schedule a set up and clean-up crew. And next year, no thunderstorms, please!may 2015 garden party5   may 2015 garden party3

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Carrot harvest time!

Here’s are smoothie recipe that uses carrots and the carrot tops! melanie_edited

Green Smoothie by Melanie Jordan

  • Dandelion greens
  • Handful of cilantro
  • Handful carrot tops + 1 carrot
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • Chunk of ginger
  • Squirt of lemon + 1/2 piece
  • Green apple
  • Filtered water
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Earth Day with the Kids in the Garden

 earthday2015aToday the kids from Beehive Preschool in West U planted sunflower seeds in the semi-circle which will grow into a Sunflower House.  Their teacher read The Sunflower House which explains how the stems grow into walls, making a room for reading and playing.


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Wine Tasting in the Garden March 29, 2015

Nearly 100 people visited us at the wine tasting and sale sponsored by Beviamo Italian Wines. Great day for a garden party!


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mar29 party5mar29 party6mar29 party7mar29 party4mar29 party2mar29 party1wine cheese March 29 2015mar29 party THE S

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What to put in our new compost bins

The left bin is for Greens. The middle bin is for Browns. The right bin is to properly layer and mix Greens & Browns. What’s a Green and what’s a Brown? See this image below:

compost image

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