Gardening within a community is a common practice nowadays. Community gardening has become quite a loaded phrase. It can mean collaborating with others who garden or physically gardening in the community. Gathering to learn more about gardening is a way to connect with other gardeners.
The Healthy Garden: Simple Steps for a Greener World has touched upon these and other ways to garden in the community. A greener world is something many people, gardeners or non-gardeners desire. Mary-Kate Mackey and Kathleen Norris Brenzel provide diverse perspectives on how we can achieve this goal. As I read this wonderful book, the conversations presented truly gave me hope.
Design, selecting plants, and the wellness benefits of gardening, are discussed in the first few chapters. Offering tips from some well-known horticultural voices, this book gently breaks down the definition of a healthy garden. Embrace your place, frame a view, forever and for now – each of these topics are defined, giving gardeners permission to garden uniquely.
Answering the question of why grow your own food is answered in this book. Knowing where your food is sourced is important. Growing what you consume is a great way to stay engaged with a vegetable plot or pot. It is a fantastic way to explore other cultures and growing methods. Making a small investment for a pack of seeds can provide unimaginable amounts of produce to share. Having a good mix of vegetables, herbs, and flowers to provide for our pollinators is key. From foodscaping to what size pots you will need – this book is quite the resource.
Exercise is all a part of gardening. Stretching underused muscles and constant motion all help keep our bodies in shape. Mental clarity is a bonus benefit. Imagine spending an afternoon gazing at a butterfly or hummingbird. The joy of pausing to discover the simple serenity of the garden is almost like medicine. Making time to pause in the garden is the perfect way to find balance in life. A garden is a useful tool for healing.
This book gives the reader permission to engage with the earth, as they see fit. Permission to enjoy what you have or to borrow from examples in other gardens. Who wouldn’t want to feel good about changing a landscape as you see fit? Utilizing the plant ladder concept in your garden offers a heightened awareness of the beauty found in layers. No matter where you are planting, multi-level plantings encourage the eye to look up and down. The higher plants become the focal point as they utilize groundcovers to create a living much.
Let’s talk about critical, touchy viewpoints – growing native plants. From the benefits to the drawbacks, growing with an emphasis on diversity is key to a greener, healthy garden. No matter what part of the country, no matter what your climate is (this year), this book has digestible information. These authors interviewed over sixty horticulturists. The information shared provides a buffet of perspectives and immeasurable knowledge.
Every seasoned gardener knows that creating spaces and laces to pause is an essential part of enjoying the garden. A single chair placed near a specific plant is an act of gardening with intention. It allows the gardener to pause and rest. It is a perfect example of how pausing is as essential as weeding. Actually, pausing to appreciate the art of gardening allows us to connect with nature in our familiar greenspaces. Taking time to enjoy and not just work in our green spaces, enables us to enjoy calm, serenity, and peace.
Community gardens are great places to find like-minded neighbors. Green spaces where neighbors can gather provide opportunities to hone great gardening skills. By participating in community gardens, there is magic in what is shared. The obvious successes as produce is shared and enjoyed by all, take precedence over the failures. The conversations enjoyed in these spaces often lead to lifelong relationships as they build strong communities.
In my local community garden, we are growing together. We gather for plot-to-plate events where we share the items we grow. Gathering in community gardens provides fertile ground for sharing recipes or offering up canning advice. Gardening in the community is a way to experiment with unfamiliar foods and flowers. Listening to the elders, experimenting with the youth, and staying abreast of the latest trends, keeps the conversations exciting and engaging – no matter the perspective or experience.
This book is a gift for all types of gardeners. The words ring true as each segment of this book offers digestible bites of perspectives on a healthy garden and greener world. As the heat of the summer sun suggests we linger longer in the shade, this is a perfect book to have on hand.
Did I mention, that you just might find someone you know on page 178? There are a few books that single out one topic. By looking at the topics that matter to most gardeners, these ladies offer a fresh perspective. I am glad these authors knew this book was necessary. Gardeners young and old want useful information. Finding the words to create a plan of action for gardeners everywhere is right on time.
I am working on unique ways to use what I grow in my community garden and sharing it with my plot partners. If you want a book filled with useful ideas, consider adding this book to your library.
Teri, Cottage in the Courtby