Perhaps the very instant spring begins is that brief sunny moment when bare branches burst from bud to flower. Dormant limbs feeling the stir of seasonal change bud and swell with the news that winter is waning. Seemingly overnight the bleak branch canopy suddenly commands our attention as we notice the burst of flowers filling a tree. Flowers before leaves, before fruit and seed pods simply fascinate a gardener, who willingly rakes and sweeps the debris that follows the spectacular show of flowering trees.
What Grows along side fruits & vegetables?
When a person has a passion, a purpose and a connection to the natural world it can feed a hunger of the soul. Dave Talley, head gardener of this community garden may have found a way to prevent starvation for many people. Certainly the garden provides food for the community food pantry, so the physical hunger is reduced. Yet the contribution to the garden made by community members including many homeless individuals may be preventing the starvation of spirit that seems epidemic in so many urban souls. Richard Louv writes in his book Last Child in the Woods & in the follow up The Nature Principal about the importance of time in the natural world for keeping our mental and physical health intact. We need nature in our lives but also in our neighborhoods. ￼ Planting seeds, petting chickens, picking peppers all introduce nature to children of all ages. This garden boasts 43 raised beds growing organic crops of broccoli, kale, leeks, cabbages, calendula, sunflowers, herbs and more. Managing all of this falls to Dave, formerly a homeless man for six years, he positively glows with enthusiasm as he point out the features of the garden. He gently strokes one of 26 hens named “Jessie” as he describes meeting the challenges of the garden. He has completed the Master Gardener certificate program and is currently enrolled in the Desert Botanical Garden training course. He supervises and manages the watering, the planting schedule and the organic practices. ￼There are 25 fruit trees growing. There are art projects covering the walls. There are innovative planters, recycling ideas. A garden grows hope.
When the temperature is freezing not many people set out to visit gardens. I, however, did just that, taking a trip to Tucson to visit Tohono Chul Park, and Garden. The frost covers were out, the air was bracing and the blue sky filled with wisps of clouds. These were repeat visits so I know the gardens are beautiful in fine weather so I expected a change of scene due to the threat of freezing temperatures.