Call for submissions: Solitary Garden Plant Book

Embroidery of Tim Young's handwriting by one of his supporters, Geraldine Magarelli
Embroidery of Tim Young's handwriting by one of his supporters, Geraldine Magarelli

Dear Friends and Community Members, 

Spring is coming! We are writing to you because you have taken part in or shown interest in our collaboration with Tim Young for Solitary Garden. For this public art and garden project at UC Santa Cruz, Tim writes us letters from his cell in San Quentin State Prison, and we grow plants on his behalf—working with him to, as artist jackie sumell puts it, "imagine a landscape without prisons."

We are happy to report we’ve received a new letter from Tim with selections for our spring planting. After suffering from long-hauler symptoms of Covid since late June, Tim has asked us to grow medicinal plants that will thrive in our region. He wants the garden to promote health in and out of prisons; he imagines it to be a space of nurture for visitors. This is a way to create a shared experience—as Tim says, the garden already nurtures him, even if he is only able to visit it through letters and photographs.

Now we want to create a plant book (zine) with Tim's writings and contributions from his friends and supporters like you—and we hope you’ll take part. In Tim’s letter, he describes the reasons for each plant he’d like to include in the garden. These passages will be the basis of the book/zine, and we’d love to add your drawings, poems, messages to Tim, or other contributions. We will print a physical copy for Tim and all contributors and also make it available digitally.

We miss being able to meet with you and others at the garden. Creating this book/zine with you is our attempt to continue to work together and to collaborate in the spirit of Solitary Garden, building together a world where flowers replace prison bars and cages. We can’t wait to see what you come up with.

"Through Solitary Garden, I am able to transcend the concrete bounds of my four and a half by ten-foot prison cell and reach levels of visibility that the downtrodden can only pray for."

- Tim Young (2020)


Send submissions to by April 23, 2021.