According to a good friend of mine, I am “one crazy-ass gardener!”
Indeed I am.
It all started with the mail box garden the first year I moved into my home (seen at the left). Convinced that the postal lady got a special delight from delivering mail to my home once the mail box garden was built, I went out every day to admire my handiwork and congratulate myself. That was the beginning of a crazy addiction only a gardener would understand.
Before long the four sides of my home were encircled with perennial gardens. Then it was all the outer edges of my property along the interior fencing which had perennial beds. Grass was removed and flagstone paths appeared. Who needs grass anyway? Soon a pergola was attached to my back gate. Before long I became the community expert on gardening and started writing a local newspaper column on gardening and greening. Then it happened – my addiction took an amazing turn no one could have anticipated.
That’s right, I took on the ultimate challenge: how to build 120 feet of garden on a busy public street with absolutely no money. It’s important to note that the property I wanted to garden was not within view of a single window of my home, it is on city-shared easement behind my property fence next to a sidewalk.
Much to my neighbor’s surprise, I decided to build this garden for the community to enjoy, not just for me. After much consideration, I felt that if I were lying on my death bed, I would care if I had given others joy and pleasure. That was enough motivation for me to find a way to build the garden. A larger question became, “how am I going to build a garden when I have no plants, no mulch, no way to water out, and no money?”
Emailing and phoning all my friends I begged for plant donations for the community garden. Dozens came through. Taking whatever I could get, I asked for as many drought-tolerant style perennial plants as possible so I could continue saving water. With vigor and love the community came through. Hoses were extended, digging commenced, and it was a joy. All the physical labor and planning was mine, but all the plants were from the people who wanted to make a difference in my community. Beautiful!
My big gardening project for this year – I am removing most of the grass in my suburban front lawn and planting my very first full-blown vegetable garden. Right smack in middle of a front lawn. And no, I am not asking anyone’s permission. Seeing the current economic situation frightens me, and educating people on growing their own food by growing my own seems like the most common sense thing in the world.
Last year at the end of the season I was standing out back behind the fence next to the public garden and one of my new friends from the community said, “You know what? You are one crazy-ass gardener!”
Smiling, I replied, “Why yes I am!” Crazy-ass gardeners care about the world and make a difference in communities. What could be better than making an effort to help the world? It is a title I will gladly hold.
How are you making a difference in your community?
Shawna Coronado says Get Healthy! Get Green! Get Community!