Uncommon callings: Alcatraz Gardener


Shelagh Fritz tends to garden beds on Alcatraz Island.

Shelagh Fritz’s primary job is curating and preserving the Alcatraz garden as it was planted decades ago. She identifies plants in photographs and researches them through a lens of sustainability. She enjoys combining research with being on the ground and doing the work.

“It’s a cultural landscape versus a natural one,” Fritz said. The aim is re-creating a garden that is reflective of its original time period – and of the stories of the people who worked it before her.

“Plants are one thing that join people, no matter where you’re from,” Fritz says. “There’s a common appreciation for beautiful plants.”


San Francisco Chronicle


October 22, 2022