This morning I woke up early with full sun and looked out the window and smiled. My peace/herb garden, which had overgrown to postapocolyptic proportions within a few weeks, was now an orderly, clean and fecund space, with elegantly caged tomato plants amidst large tufts of green lemonbalm and oregano.
I had been lamenting, and I admit stressing a little, over the state of my yard and gardens this year. Pete can mow the yard, but the gardens take more care and time and digging. Contact with dirt, even if it’s airborne, was one of the things verboten to me, as soil carries bacteria that may compromise my immune system. I tell you, these things are lurking everywhere! And normally they are good, plentifully inhabiting all healthy soil to provide nutrients to things that grow. It is a fascinating field, studying things in the soil, and extremely important as without healthy soil we would not survive. Literally. But it is not a sexy topic like global warming or seal hunting, so it gets little attention, as is evidenced when trying to do an online search for it. I kind of feel sorry for the pedologists of the world, especially when they get confused for pedologists who study the developmental characteristics of children. But soil contains organic and inorganic elements whose job it is to decompose, aerate and regulate mineral uptake and bioavailability of things that plants, and ultimately us, need to grow. Soil, it seems, has its own immune system, just like plants and just like us. Creating the imbalance that is the result of industrial pollution and over farming means upsetting some very important immune systems. But I digress! You can learn more in Thomas Polick’s classic The End of Food.
So, yes, this is why even seemingly benevolent bacteria in the soil might harm me, but the thought of not having a nice garden this year depressed me too. Then my friend Vicki came up with a brilliant idea. Why not have a Garden Party, where people come to clean up the garden and do the planting? I could delegate, surveying the land with my sun clothes and wide brimmed hat and wave my hand in consultation and they would follow my instructions as my
minions happy workers. This was a plan hatched in March, and it took some time to get it going, enough that the early spring rains would indiscriminately kickstart the growth of any living thing in the soil; in no time at all the place was covered in weeds.
So yesterday, Sunday May 27, which also happened to be my 100th day of transplant (YAY!), a group of about 15 friends and their kids from both sides of the lake came over in the afternoon to work on the place. There was raking, weed wacking, trimming, planting, clearing, mulching and within a few hours, the transformation was complete. It was magical, and moving, to have this community pitch in thus. I had been busy earlier in the day preparing sweet and savory treats, along with various liquid refreshments, to keep the troops happy and refreshed, so by the end we were all pretty exhausted. It was a perfect, perhaps too hot day, but a good way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
Sadly, I did not take any before pictures. It would have been depressing. Imagine a shapeless green and brown mass of stuff. But we did take during pictures. Below are images of the event, and its result! Thank you again to all who came. I hope this is something I can do for someone else in the years to come.