Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"even prisoners need a little sunshine in their lives"

Alcatraz brings to mind images of hardened prisoners, tough guards and a thankless rock stuck in the middle of a rough, cold bay.

But even prisoners need a little sunshine in their lives - or, in this case, roses, fuchsias and geraniums.

For nearly a century, five beautiful gardens existed on Alcatraz, lovingly kept up, first by military families then by the inmates and staff of the federal penitentiary that was closed in 1963.

For five years, a nonprofit group has worked with meticulous attention to detail to bring the gardens back to life, using the types of flowers that could have been seen in the plots 50 to 60 years ago. They hope to finish the project by the end of 2009, but already the fruit of the workers' labor is evident in several gardens.

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