In a four-season state, unless you are a Winter sports enthusiast, are fearless of driving in the ice and snow, or think that frigid air is invigorating, the advent of Winter is not a welcome thought. In my mind, there are very few redeeming qualities of Winter, though our 2019 warm weather months were not seasons of joy, with Spring’s endless rain and Summer’s constant severe weather threats … not to mention the heat and humidity.
If I had to pick one redeeming factor of Winter, it would be going outside while the snow is softly falling, admiring that pristine snow already on the ground, which serves to muffle all the street noise that is usually present. It is especially delightful on a Sunday morning, a hushed feeling, while most of the world is still in slumber mode and the landscape resembles a Currier & Ives print from long ago.
Birds, bees, butterflies and … beans?
I much prefer the warmer months as most of my longer walks are enjoyed then. So, I would equate a walk on a quiet Winter morn to the peace and tranquility I found at the Taylor Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, which I visited a few weeks ago. It was quiet when I first arrived, the beginning of a very hot day. I looked around and saw a Black Swallowtail flitting about and bees hovering over all the beautiful blooms. I took some photos at the Conservatory, and then headed over to the Community Garden which is located between the Conservatory and Heritage Park. There is a long garden area, with many plots of land, which are tended by two different factions. First, there are the workers who are fulfilling community service hours for minor infractions and growing veggies to go directly to the local food bank. Then, there are the folks that simply enjoy sifting the dirt through their fingers, finding peace working in the garden and reaping the fruits of their labor.
Let’s visit the Good Will Garden.
Just swing open the high wooden gate to view the abundance of eye candy. There are colorful blooms, butterflies and bees and even a few feathered friends taking a dip in the birdbaths around the Garden.
Now take a deep breath and relax.
Immersing yourself in the beauty all around is sure to put a smile on your face!
Cabbage Whites, cabbages and more.
I’ve had flower gardens before, but never a vegetable garden. My father should have known after the squirrels dug up and ate every one of his tulip bulbs the first year we lived here, that the fate of a garden depended on how hungry or mischievous the neighborhood critters were. My mom’s pleas for beefsteak tomatoes were answered when he bought several plants. But we never saw a single slice of these beefsteak beauties on our dinner plates, because the squirrels yanked every tomato off the vine, took a big bite and cast it aside. What the squirrels missed, the birds would peck holes into. So, that was the first and last time we planted veggies at this house.
The dainty Cabbage White butterflies were ever present as they hovered over blooms and bean blossoms just a few feet away.
I was struck by the size of the cabbages in one garden.
Let me introduce you to Mike.
Mike and his wife each have a plot … oh no, this is not a dark post and not that type of plot! They own two plots in the Community Garden. Until I chitchatted with Mike, I was under the impression all the gardens were tended by the work force detail. Well I had a lot to learn.
Mike explained to me that large areas of the Community Garden are tended by people that love their plants – whether they bloom or end up on the dinner table. Mike’s wife loves flowers, and though they have a 50-foot long flower garden alongside their house, she wanted more flowers and they both wanted a vegetable garden. So, they lease two, side-by-side plots each year at the Community Garden. They pay $50.00 per year for each plot, but he said the benefits go far beyond that price … they both love tending these gardens and they get back their yearly investment in produce. Mike’s wife was away on vacation that upcoming week and he lamented in jest that he was “stuck” watering and tending the flowers at home and here, plus feeding their pets, but he added he was happy to do so. He praised his wife for helping him to see the beauty of the flowers in their two gardens.
They have created a natural habitat for the butterflies and bees with their beautiful blooms and after topping off the cobalt blue ceramic birdbath, (also seen at the top of this post), a couple of sparrows were quick to pay a visit.
It was a very warm morning and I said “yes, unfortunately no rain until Tuesday; three more hot days to get through” to which he kind of rolled his eyes and said “ya, tell me about it!”
Well both Mike and I obviously listened to the same weather station because we had a torrential rain and storm not three hours after we chatted. Before I moved along to check out the other gardens and take more pictures, Mike snaked his hand into some large leaves and produced a “just-picked, fresh-off-the-vine” cucumber for me to take home.
I hope to be back to check out the garden in its glory one more time before the first frost arrives, because where else can you watch flowers and produce growing companionably thanks to some TLC and Ol’ Sol too.