Monday, May 3, 2010


Tough day for me this Saturday.

Usually best to get the bad stuff out of the way first...I had to concede defeat, and finally let go of the garden that I've tended for the last 7+ years...little plot M20 at the Victory garden in the Fens.

This 16ftx24ft patch of rich earth wasn't perfect, but it was mine, for a while.
I've had several interactions with intruders (insectivorous, rodent, and..most frustratingly, human) that led to untimely destruction of hours worth of work. But, you learn to keep the water averse plants up on higher ground. You don't replant trees and shrubs that seem to have bark that's the favorite late winter snack of the river rats. You keep the most tempting of flowers and fruit out of arms reach and spike the garden gate with lock jaw inducing rusty finish nails and thread rose thorns along the fence tops. Top notch garden regulation approved security systems (and, no, razor wire isn't on the list).

Its not easy having a garden that you treat like its going to be yours forever. You set up a mini irrigation system, you drag in 18 inch pavers and haul in puddingstone from under the deck of my old Mission Hill apartment. Plonk down mail order perennials and tiny trees with visions of growing them to a more sturdy, landscape worthy size.

You grow things.

Black eyed susans. Blue hosta. Purple clematis, purple heuchera, purple potatoes.
Spicy thai basil, sweet smelling mock orange, pungent garlic chives.
Japanese everything (almond, Stewartia, maple, holly, cypress, iris, peony, painted fern, redbud get the point).
And, in recent years, hops. The true lupulin wolf of the garden. I set up 10 foot galvanized poles and coir twine trellis, knowing they were undersized, but were also likely maxing out the stifling garden's regulations. They were a nice start, but the apexes were reached about 1/2 in to the active growing season. They caught the attention of the neighbors, and initiated hour long conversations about their care, and eventually about their favorite kinds of craft beer.
I found out Saturday that I was known through the tight garden clique as the 'hops guy'. Huh. That's cool, but I was only mildly disappointed that I wasn't known as the 'peony guy'.

Centennial, CTZ, Cascade, Sterling, and Fuggles. The mature Sterling and Fuggles were already ~6ft tall, and shooting up bines far from the crown. The thick ropey rhizomes were lifted, bines cut way back, sectioned and carted back to my parents house, and are resting under a layer of well rotted compost, just waiting until they get to their new home at Sticks and Stones farm.
So, in recent years, I've pacified my need to have my hands in the earth today while nurturing the visions I had of a firmly rooted and floriferous tomorrow. This is why it was so tough to walk away from it this Saturday. The clock had run out, and though I've never lived closer to the gardens I was paradoxically no longer living in Boston proper, and these gardens are strictly reserved for her residents. Knowing this was coming for quite some time, so this weekend was actually just the final bit of it. It sort of felt like raiding an already picked over garden center, but there were still some longtime gems in there. Probably, the most important of which was the scrub pine seedling that my aunt Norma gave to me when I first started the garden. I've been going Miyagi on its ass for years, and it is starting to resemble a tree that would be at home in the master Bonsai collection at the Arboretum. But, I still must wait, as he is in good hands for the time being, until I can call a more permanent patch of earth my own.

so, a day where I needed to let go of a lot...
...this loss, albeit small, helped to magnify and highlight a truly inspired evening.
An evening of visions, possibilities. Building momentum toward what will be our future.
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