The ICA’s headquarters is located in a one-level storefront on Broad Street, just a block from the construction site. One of the best, yet little known, features of the space is the rear patio and box garden. Spring 2016 marks the first anniversary, and our second spring, of our staff working in the space. Last summer saw the box garden bursting with flowers and vegetables, including a pink rose bush, heirloom tomatoes, and green peppers.

This year, we are fortunate to have amateur gardener Traci Garland, Interim Registrar and Assistant Director of Facilities and Administration, available to help create another memorable feast of flowers and vegetables. To help understand her process, following are her thoughts on the collection of plants.

“The selections are a mix of perennial and annual ornamentals and edibles. The perennials will return each year, and are attractive to bees and butterflies. Included in the mix is French lavender, which will offer a pleasant scent to our visitors; rosemary, an evergreen herb; and kale, a cool-hardy edible green.

While planting, a few volunteer tomatoes seedlings, growing from the seeds of last year’s crop, were discovered and saved. Later in the summer, these tomatoes will grow alongside the ornamentals and will shade the kale—which would otherwise wilt in the heat—extending its growing season.

I also plan to bring in a few specimens of native milkweed that I am cultivating from seed at home. Milkweed is the only host plant of the monarch butterfly and is critically needed to help with monarch restoration and conservation efforts.”