Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Community Garden in a new light

I’ve been wearing my flippers lately at work, trying to swim harder through the work muck.
Easter came and is still showing signs of renewal. I notice it in nature.

I’ve been hearing a lot about community gardens and sustainable communities, CSA’s. Buying local, pulling in and working on us from within instead of reaching out, way out, for the things we need and want.

I’ve been thinking of a way I can help build that kind of community from where I sit. Sure, bubblegum and pretzels sooth spirits and calm the unsettled souls. A cozy office invites conversation, and the bird feeders are now being emptied daily. Still, an idea for a broader connection with nature and building community through that escapes me. I’ve been thinking and thinking about how to build connections…. I'm not so comfortable in groups of people, but there is nothing more peaceful than visiting with a bed of plants. They are people, too and they want to grow just like people do, and they need help, too. Just like us.

The thought of a community garden thrills me. The thought of a community garden made by, managed and sustaining 3,000 members scares the poison ivy out of me.

When I am trying to figure things out, I tend to fill my time with busi-work. Messychef cooking, or knitting or sewing or gardening- writing. I rent a small townhouse with a little yardette and gardenette and they are lovely, but not enough to sustain my need to figure out some questions knawing at me, so last year I asked a friend if I could work in her yard. I think I’ve overwritten about this. Well,the job is going swell. With money a problem- or lack thereof, I discovered ways to get plants at little or no expense.I sent out on a few neighborhood elists an offer to thin irises, daylilies, daffodils and liripe and got a good response. I discovered that if you hit the shopping centers at just the right time, you can save the plants used for landscaping from a frightful death by bringing along a pitchfork and taking them home when they are being traded out during the seasonal changes.

I’ve traded irises from my house for liripe from a work church friend’s house.
Now, a year into the project things are coming together. This one yard has had a ripple effect. There are plants all over this city from other places in town.

I offered to help a friend at work get her garden started, and now we meet almost weekly and have a wonderful time learning and planting. She is so delightful and willing to accomodate my short time. I mean, all this gardening is not like hiring a landscaping company. A middle aged arthritic woman cannot be compared with a team of workers with tillers. I come equipped with gloves, a pitchfork and short amount of time. These projects are being created one bit at a time.

Children in the preschool have been helpful, and an assistance person helped me once. At work, the maintenance crew helps me with the hose - It's a village. Truly.

I think we are also creating a community garden here at work church with a twist.

A year ago, the grounds were abound with greenery. With the brilliantly colorful idea of my boss, we welcomed spring with a church fronted with daffodils and crocuses that I put to bed in the Fall. The color brought about an awakening in some folks, and so I have been trying to keep the color coming along on the church grounds with the goal being to have something alive and looking good all seasons.

I visited one church member and saw the most beautiful purple blooming plant. I asked if I might thin them out, and move them around and she said very kindly, ‘Have at it. My yard is your yard.” Some of her purple plants are now under the dogwood tree.

Another has been bringing me vinca to add to the starter periwinkle around another tree.
A second friend noticed, and has offered to bring some as well.

Someone heard me mention Lenten rose, and said she’d bring some for me later in the season.

I traded irises with my front desk garden buddy and now we have some of hers and mine popping up like mad.

A member from home church opens her yard to friends, and I have visited her site many times. Work church is holding some of her plants.

I pass one member’s house on my way to work, and inquired about helping her thin her late blooming daffs and I brought her a bag of irises yesterday.

Our work church garden, as well as the other friends who let me piddle in their yards are all benefitting from neighbors’ nature. If that’s not building community, I don’t know what is.
Our community garden is not just one. It has rippled out and multiplied in many good directions.


Anonymous said...

You do have a tendency to leave me exhausted with all your work beyond all your work! Loonygin

Belle said...

The flowers are lovely and a daily delight. THANKS