Nancy Matthews, left gardener with Vladimir Oliveros President of the Jackson Square Alliance

We sat down with Jackson Square gardener Nancy Matthews to gain some insight into her experience in the Park. For the last six years. Here is what she had to say.

How did you become interested in gardening?

I was raised on a farm in the Pacific Northwest and both my parents and I raised food crops and made a large garden.

What makes Jackson Square Park so special?

The trees and the fountain create the atmosphere of the park. These large elements  provide a comprehensible human scale to the area. The plantings are largely perennials and so there is a lot of green in the park. This gives it a lush feeling in spite of being surrounded by very busy streets. In this way, the park acts like a calming element in the neighborhood.

You probably see more Park Life than anyone! What is the funniest or most unusual thing you’ve seen while working?

The most fun thing is seeing people’s reaction to the Halloween masks we make and decorate with.

What is your vision for the Square?

I hope that the park will continue very much as it is; we’re looking forward to make the planting beds a little bigger and the stones set in moss and making the water level in the fountain higher so that the sky will be reflected. This would make the park a bit more intimate and protected

Why is the work we do important?

The work of the Alliance is the foundation for keeping the park beautiful: keeping the plants thriving and the hard scape cared for and clean. The human need to have rest  in a natural setting is especially crucial in large cities. Parks offer reception rather than impingement. The reminder that you are one part of a large natural system helps us keep perspective; something of beauty soothes our soul.