It’s a setting for a magical pixie tea party. The memory garden for Kim Brenegar lies at the corner of North Carolina and Eighth Street SE, whimsical sparkling art inside the embrace of greenery and pops of vibrant floral color.
The Capitol Hill resident and owner of landscaping company The Ornamental Garden died in a car accident in 2009 aged only 49, leaving behind two children and a deeply bereaved community. The garden is steps from where she lived. NPS transferred the site to DC in 1973. Unable to see the space neglected, Brenegar she had volunteered for hours and donated plant materials to nurture the corner garden.
According to the Capitol Hill Restoration Society (CHRS) the park was originally designated part of the public park system on July 1, 1898. Back then, Independence Avenue was still known as “B Street” and the Romanesque church adjacent to the park, built in the eight years preceding, was known as the North Carolina Avenue Methodist Church. At the time, it had a flower bed in the center.
In 1973, the National Park Service (NPS) transferred the parcel, known as Reservation 232, to the District, for “minor street improvements”. But little improvement was made until Brenegar contributed her time and resources to the park. She would trim the buses, mulch the gardens, rake and plant shrubbery.
To honor her memory, friends and neighbors got together and formed Friends of Kim Brenegar in 2010. Together with Green Spaces for DC and the DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DC DPR) they started renovations on the park in 2011.
The focal point is a mosaic centerpiece by Deirdre Saunder and installed in 2013. It incorporates organic shapes and recycled materials, such as a watering can, garden hose and gloves amid stones, colorful porcelain tiles and shards of glass.
The work is a tribute to Brenegar’s love of nature and conservation, speaking to her sense of humor and whimsy, as adults and children discover and rediscover the planted objects. Learn more at kimsgardendc.blogspot.com