For decades, the corner of 9th & I Streets SE, just outside the walls of the the historic Marine Barracks was a barren asphalt island. In the fall of 2019, a nearby resident asked us to help restart a dormant proposal to remove the impermeable surface and plant native pollinator species. A plethora of bureaucratic obstacles stymied the project initiated by the United States Marine Corps command for several years - a situation that spoke to the very nature of Guerrilla Gardeners of Washington DC.
Still, such a monumental task would require collaboration with neighbors and the Marines. A series of meetings over the winter produced a plan of action. A fundraising campaign began and volunteers were recruited for the various phases of the project.
A jackhammer broke up the asphalt and the pieces - 20 tons in all - were transported to a construction dumpster. The herculean effort was competed in a single day.
On a subsequent day volunteers descended on the plot whose soil has seen neither rain nor sun for a generation. Soil amendment was added to the clay and sand recently uncovered and planted over 100 rudbeckia and lobelia, commonly known as Black-eyed Susan and cardinal flower and five Arrowood vibernum.
Not pictured are the many Marines who helped with each phase of this operation and without whose assistance it would not have been completed. We are grateful for their spirited work, especially swinging sledgehammers that broke up the asphalt into manageable pieces.
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