Talmage Crossing


Talmage Crossing is a garden created by a group of neighbors who reclaimed a neglected scrap of land where the BNSF railroad tracks cross a favorite pedestrian walk through the Como Neighborhood. It was an eyesore. The railroad had sprayed herbicide and thrown down crushed rock, so the only thing that grew there were 6 ft noxious weeds. The soil was depleted and eroding. We were tired of it. We used shovels, weed-hounds and a tree wench to dig and pull out weeds that were 3 inches across at the base. Fresh wood chips were laid down in an attempt to discourage new weeds from sprouting. A few plants were started.

Our City Council Members provided plantable medians. Neighbors donated saltresistant perennials and a Community Garden began. While adding plants on the boulevard we discussed how we could solve erosion and heal the triangle of land at the crossing.

In 2008 we began asking BNSF for permission to plant. They were concerned about the safety of gardeners working near the tracks and plants that might obscure the sight lines of oncoming trains. We made plans, conducted soil tests and tried test plots of clover to add nutrients to depleted soil. We researched rain gardens and prairie plants. In 2012 BNSF offered to lease SECIA the land for our community garden if we installed a 6 ft chainlink fence along the tracks and agreed to some garden restrictions: No food crops, no benches, no large signs, and no plants over 3 ft tall.

In the Fall of 2012 gardeners, neighbors, and students joined together to dig the rain garden. An Eagle flew over. It takes many Native Perennials three years to bloom, so it was exciting to see some blossoming the next spring.


Each Spring we have added another Native Prairie plot to Talmage Crossing. In the last couple years the garden has been glorious and is popular with walkers, joggers and bikers. Bees buzz happily along side of us, butterflies collect nectar and appreciate our organic practices. Wild Turkeys and Rabbits happily forage. Walkers, joggers and bikers enjoy the view. Even truck drivers and Railroad workers have thanked us. It is very pleasant greeting the passing Community. We give them a patch of healing Nature to enjoy.

Safety near the Tracks

    • Talmage Crossing gardeners are very conscientious about safety around the tracks.
    • Please obey the Railroad Crossing rules. Never cross the track if the crossing arm is down. The trains are too heavy to brake in
      time. There are two sets of tracks. One train may have passed, but another could be coming from the other direction.
    • Only cross the tracks at the designated crossing. It is not safe to cross the tracks at the closed street at 21st Ave. SE. If you are
      approaching from Como Avenue, please come along 22nd Ave. SE past Como Corner or 20th.

*Median Gardening:

    • Most gardening days we will not be working in the medians. When median work is planned gardeners in our email list will be
      notified and extra rules will apply. We will provide safety vests and orange safety cones which are required for median work.

Always work on the side of the median where you can be seen by passing cars: the North side of the East Median or South side of
the West Median.