Saturday, November 12, 2005

a garden in the pink mylar bags

The three little girls came up to my waist, and earnestly held three bright pink mylar bags. As I held Champ the pitbull from dashing out the door, and helped the motorcycle guy who'd come for today's free spaghetti balance his plate and his books, the girls chirped: "We have a donation for you!" Pretty, smiling faces. Yes? I said, wondering what on earth the pink bags held. "We have flower bulbs!" they crowed. I beamed. "Yes", they said, daffodils and irises and tulips. We love your garden!". Thank you so much, I said, I do love flowers, and I will plant these out there and you can watch them in the spring when they bloom.
The parking lot garden is one of my favorite projects ever. There, in the asphalt wasteland, where everyone told me grimly nothing would grow, there are now strips of trees and flowers, little succulents, a continuing, changing rainbow of loveliness. And many of the plants and seeds came over the bookstore entrance, held by homeless people and drunks, by earnest citizens, by grandmothers, and by little girls with pink bags in their little hands.
Inside the mylar bags the bulbs rest, marked with carefully crayoned labels, each one with a little heart drawn by the name. Tomorrow I will plant them, and enjoy the red liquidambar leaves as they fall, and the still blooming pink zinnias under the little weeping willows, the golden birch leaves, the last orange gold peach leaves, the scarlet maple.
Kind of a stone soup sort of garden, a continual source of surprise and delight.


Blogger Amy Branham said...

I totally enjoy reading your blog this morning. Such diversity! Sounds like the idealic life to me! The flower garden sounds like a dream come true. And your account of your partner going to the protest is awesome. So awesome.


4:39 AM, November 14, 2005  
Blogger David said...

I like your description of your parking lot garden! It sounds beautiful! What wonderful little girls with their pink bags. :) Thanks for a bit of conversation at my blog!

I have a suggestion regarding your asphalt wasteland. If you go to a supplier of concrete blocks and bricks, they will probably have some types of decorative concrete blocks, the sort that you can build a see-through wall with. You could tear up a small section of asphalt down to the earth. If necessary, add a bit of sand on top to bring the depth of the hole equal to the height of the concrete blocks laid on their sides. Fill the decorative holes in the blocks with earth and plant small "stepable" plants in the holes. The concrete blocks will support the weight of cars, but will allow plants to grow and water to drain through. If you just tried a small section, you could see if it works for you. This is not a new idea, and I have seen it work with my own eyes.

10:10 PM, November 14, 2005  
Blogger jarvenpa said...

Amy, as I have said at your site, I much admire your blog and send you good energy. I wish I could be in Crawford at Thanksgiving.
David, your ideas are good, but alas the parking lot belongs to the post office next to where my bookstore is, and I am sure they would not think kindly of my tearing up the asphalt (I do think of it, daily!). The garden runs in strips around three sides, one right next to the bookstore building (there are two peach trees and a birch, a number of roses, tree mallows, and assorted flowers along this wall). Between the parking lot and the side walk are two strips, planted with roses, herbs, and trees (Japanese maple, liquidambar, more peach trees, a pomegranate, a chitalpa) and flowers. There's an island planted with two small (now) weeping willows and many flowers, and then another stretch along a wall with various flowers. Last year I put in several hundred bulbs in the vacant roadside across the main street, as well as in the parking lot garden. It is a little amazing.
I may try your idea, however, back at my land--it sounds like it could be a very pretty way to create a garden space. Thank you!

11:05 PM, November 14, 2005  
Blogger Dr O2 said...

Jarvenpa that was a fantastic description man! I am also into gardening although I don honestly get much of a time to take it on seriously :-)

2:31 AM, November 16, 2005  

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