The late Carola Ashford, the garden’s first Project Manager, described gardening on Alcatraz as ‘garden archeology’. Peeling back the layers of overgrowth from years of neglect would always reveal artifacts – forgotten items from the prison days. As we approach our tenth year, we are still finding items. But not all of our findings are artifacts from long ago.
This past week, while weeding
around the metal detector at the base of the recreation yard steps, Barbara, discovered a message in a bottle!
The crew of volunteers and I all gathered around, we all wondered what could be inside.
Prying open the Boylan Bottle Works Root Beer bottle (luckily one of the gardeners travels with a bottle opener), we teased out some moist papers. We speculated it was a time capsule or perhaps a million dollars left to care for the gardens. We were a bit off with our guesses; but the contents of the bottle did make us smile.
Dated April 26th, 2011 -the bottle held the message ‘I love you. Let’s find this and laugh’. The note also had a big imprint of lipstick lips. We all did laugh at the find and it was fun to think that a visitor had left this behind for someone to find one day.
The bottle also contained a BART ticket, a business card from Millennium, a vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco, and napkins from Extreme Pizza. Perhaps the bottle held the best memories from the person’s trip to San Francisco?
Whatever the reason for leaving the bottle, it was exciting to find.