I’ve had this little community garden plot in Belmont MA for 12 or so years now. Forever, it seems. I got it back when I lived in an urban area with a small yard that had very little sunlight. I was so happy the day I was assigned to the plot – a new found joy. I ended up being the garden manager for six years. I tended the paths. And I knew everyone. Memories…
Now the years have passed. I still have this beautiful plot. I have two espaliered pear trees along the fence on the east side. A nice old rhubarb plant next to them. I have a 10-foot row of red raspberries along the fence on the west side. Also a lovely lilac in the back and, in the middle, an arbor my husband made.
I remember past years when I go there. I used to bring Skippy all the time. He is gone now, but he loved to hang out here. He was a bit aggressive maybe, but we were in our fenced enclosure. The Gardens were mostly unoccupied back then. Very different than now. Skippy would protect the plot – he would bark and say go away to strangers. When it was a friend (usually), I’d leash him at the back of the plot. I sure loved Skippy.
My husband and son did a lot of work on my plot. They put in my raised beds. (Untreated pine that beds that lasted about six years – mostly I am gardening on flat soil now.) They expanded my plot to double it’s size, removing three huge oak roots with a come-along chain and several big rocks. One especially giant rock they dug a deep hole next to, rolled it in, and buried it.
So many memories. So many people I knew and gardened with – several have passed on, several have moved away, several I still say hi to.
Mostly my plot is a peaceful and quiet place. Surrounded by conservation areas, I listen to the songs of birds, hang out with the robin that seems to own my plot, watch hawks in the trees (come get the voles and chipmunks!), and watch the sun move across the sky. My dogs Charley, and sometimes Suzie too, come with me but they don’t have the same sense of belonging that Skippy had. Usually I go on my own now and quietly plant, tend, and harvest.
It’s a great spot. One I’d hate to give up. My pears, my raspberries, my memories, and old friends.
So I continue to plant butternut squash that do awesome climbing up the arbor in the center. I plant potatoes – getting them in early to beat the potato beetles. Onions, shallots, and garlic do great as long as I come and water them twice a week in May and June. My sunflowers grow tall with no help. The lilac blooms at Mother’s Day, my tansy in late summer. I’m looking forward to another growing season.