Five-year-old Abu was camera shy and tried to hide behind his mom, Nighat Ghakhar--but he was not garden shy. He is the one who wanted to go on the garden tour and excitedly took radish seeds at my house, a cucumber at Gene and Margie's and tomatoes as well as seeds at Charlie's place.
One thing's for certain, children are among the most enthusiastic supporters of gardening. Perhaps it's because they are still young enough to appreciate the miracle of a seed. Myself, as an old adult, must be reminded of this phenomenon once in a while in order to feel the awe.
A few days ago when Charlie was carefully preparing seed packets for visitors to his garden, I had one of those moments in which I remembered just how special seeds are. If you've ever seen a Brussels Sprout seed, or a Broccoli seed, you'll know what I mean. Here they are: teeny specks--so teeny that if you drop them on your kitchen floor, don't hope to find them again (especially my kitchen floor). Yet, in spite of their size, they come fully programmed to grow into enormous plants. Some of Charlie's Brussels Sprout stalks stood five feet tall this year--all from one teeny seed. How does all this information get stored in a seed? If a human were building the seed, just think how big it would have to be to contain enough computer chips to store all that information for one plant. How does a Brussels Sprout seed know to grow into a Brussels Sprout plant and not an Okra plant. To contemplate the seed is to contemplate the infinite and the miracle of creation itself.
I think the child's mind is still uncrowded enough to appreciate the miracle of the seed and that may be one of the reasons they seem to love the garden even more than adults. It could be their unbridled joy at picking the food and eating it right from the garden (a joy that even most adults share with children).
I thought about all this as I watched the children who visited my garden on Saturday.
Above we have Candi Reindl and her two sons along wih Joan and John Baer with their granddaughter, Autumn. The children frolicked in the garden and found a few blueberries to eat. Joan and John are currently in the process of building their own urban garden. Of course, as with all the visitors to my garden, I invited them to join Loving Garland Green.
A view in my garden featuring a Midsummer Nights fairy and one of Margies crystal plate flowers
CHATS IN THE GARDEN WITH MEMBERS OF GARLAND'S OLD GUARD AND MY NEIGHBORS
That's another thing about gardens--the urgency of time slows down. Sometimes when I'm out in my garden I'm shocked to go in the house and realize that several hours have passed. Sue Holmes-Watkins who writes for the Dallas Morning News stopped by and we had a nice chat. I've read many of Sue's articles but never had the opportunity to meet her until the garden tour. Turns out that her family are among the original families here in Garland and she went to school with Monroe Todd whom I've written about before here on my Eat Green blog. The conversation moved in that direction when mentioned that I was surprised to learn that Sachse is older than Garland (founded in 1891). A few days ago when Charlie and I were driving through Sachse to go to Lake Lavon to watch a sunset, I happened to notice a saying noting Sachse's foundation in 1845--forty-six years earlier. It's interesting to me how/why some communities grow into large urban areas and others stay small.
As we were chatting, Melissa Vernon pulled up on her bicycle. Turns out that Melissa's forebears were also among the early settlers of Garland. Sue and Melissa joked that they were probably related somewhere down the line.
Gardens bring people and neighborhoods together--especially gardens that are in the front yard. Until I put my garden in my front yard last June 2013, I doubt that in the 10 years that I've lived here any more than five people stopped to talk with me when I was out in the front yard. I started keeping track of the people who began stopping on June 15, 2013 and kept track until about the middle of August when I stopped counting at 95 visitors. If you are lonely, one great cure is to start digging up your front lawn and putting in a garden. I guarantee that you will have more than enough people to talk with.
But if you really want to talk garden, come to a Loving Garland Green meeting. We meet every Monday 6:30 to 7:30 PM at 216 East Kingsbridge Drive (the part of Kingsbridge that is close to Naaman School Road). My home is only four houses up from Naaman School Road.
A view from Margie and Gene's garden featuring dinner plate flowers and a toilet planter.
GARDENS, YARD ART AND GENE AND MARGIE
Another aspect of gardens is the fun aspect. Gardens, in addition to their practical offerings, are just plain fun--particularly when you add yard art to the mix and even more so when you make some of your yard art. One of our members, Margie Rodgers, makes "flowers" for the the garden from dinner plates and other china and crystal ware. I'm after her to start selling them. Perhaps Loving Garland Green will have a booth at the Garland Marketplace in July and among the produce we might feature some of Margie's plate flowers. (However, I think the jury is still out on the toilet planter. Still, it's one example of the permaculture principle of reuse. What happens to old toilets any way? Did you ever think about that? Where do they go?)*
*Some Answers for You:
1. Toilet recycling programs crush porcelain and use in concrete for roads and sidewalks. Check with your city to see if they have a recycling program that includes toilets.
2. Habitat for Humanity has stores in the USA and Canada called Habitat ReStores. These retail centers sell new and gently used household goods and use the proceeds for local building projects.
A BIG THANK YOU AND HUG TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED AND SUPPORTED LOVING GARLAND GREEN'S MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S GARDEN TOUR
We appreciate you all and hope you will continue to grow our local economy by growing more of the food you eat. In the fall we are planning another garden tour which is likely to be in mid to late October as the Autumnal Equinox for 2014 falls on September 23. Likely this day will be a bit early for our fall harvests, but we will see.
As always, you are invited to join Loving Garland Green. We meet every Monday at 216 East Kingsbridge Drive Garland Texas 75040 from 6:30 to 7:30PM.