Update: Garden is now back open.
The cottonwood tree that was the focal point, gathering place, shelter and spiritual guide of the Festival Beach Community Garden split down the middle and toppled over today. City crews were called in, but postponed removing the felled tree and cutting down the part that remains standing because they didn’t have equipment that could handle the job. They’ll return on Monday.
The garden, meantime, remains closed until the the tree is removed. As it is now, the other half could fall at any moment, injuring anyone unlucky enough to be in its path. Nobody was hurt in the incident though it was a close call for Regina who had been working in the herb garden nearby. She heard a number of creaks and cracks, not realizing where they coming from. When she heard it one more time, she turned to see the tree slowly falling over. She ran out of its way to safety.
Many thanks to Alberto Martinez, Austin American-Statesman, for these photos. The first was shot in April during a potluck under the tree. Alberto shot the second today from the same vantage point.