May 30, 2016

Community Garden Love


Smith has this little stuffed fox, 'super foxy' or just 'foxy' for short. He carries him everywhere and also sometimes accidentally leaves him behind to spend the night abandoned in a playground or grocery store... still we somehow always track him down (so far, knock on wood!). I think about how many toys and stuffed creatures I have carefully chosen for the kids over the years, some hand made with loving care and hefty price tags, and yet it's this synthetic Ikea fox, thoughtlessly added to the cart in an effort to buy me some extra shopping time, that has won his heart. I never would I have guessed that we would be retracing our steps and making late night phone calls to track down that $2 mass produced toy, but Smith loves him, and so now we all do too. It's funny the things that wind up being critical to finding personal joy.

Our community garden is a bit like that fox for me. Six years ago, when we first scored our plot, it was just a way to bide my time and get my fingers dirty until I could move back to the country. I never imagined that 400 square feet of sun soaked earth would play such a big role in our family's warm weather rituals. James was initially ambivalent about our plot, and these days he is often the one dragging us all there, weeding and watering at the end of long work days. The kids have grown up with our garden as a major feature of their lives, and despite our move last summer, this patch of land, connected to a community and not a set of house keys, has remained a constant for them both.

When we were looking to buy a house, several friends made comments assuming we'd give up our garden, because we would want to start one in our own yard, or it would be too far away. But we actually made proximity to the garden a key factor in our buying process, and we are definitely keeping our plot! 

True, it does require more effort to pack up the kids and drive just to do a little gardening. I am sure that if I could swing open my back door and poke around, everything would be better maintained. But it is so worth the added work. It's wonderful to walk around and chat with other gardeners, sharing tips and seeds. I love that we were able to stay close to the city, and all of the culture and excitement it has to offer, choosing a small and shady lot without sacrificing sun loving veggies in the process. Best of all, our garden happens to be nestled in a nature preserve, which means our non-country-kids get to kick off their shoes, run through fields chasing butterflies, toss stones into streams, and generally experience much of the freedom my country-kid childhood afforded me. 

I love you community garden, you have given our family so much more than we can possibly return. Never outgrow us, and we promise that we'll never outgrow you.

8 comments:

  1. Your garden community sounds awesome. And honestly, your plot probably gets more love and attention because its not right in your back yard. You have to make a special trip there so then you put the time in. We have a small garden in our yard that is often neglected. So many days I plan to pop out and work in the garden for a few minutes here and there, but the day gets busy and next thing I know it's dark out. I feel like your set up might actually be perfect.

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    1. I never thought of it that way Joanna, you might be right! Some days it feels like a hassle, but I like that taking the kids means they have to be involved (rather than napping or watching tv while I'm out gardening... Though that does sound relaxing for me :) thanks for your comment.

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  2. Joanna is probably right on the proximity thing - I rarely have success in my own yard because I just don't have the time to be vigilant. What a great space though - it looks enormous. I always think of community gardens as being shoved into vacant urban lots. This looks fantastic.

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    1. I know, it is a really special place... not the tiny urban community garden that we often think of. It's about 10 miles from downtown Boston, closer to Cambridge. I always debate with my friends whether this is the suburbs or not. I think technically it is! The original 1930s suburbs that actually were close to the city... but not right in the heart, so lots of preserves and parks. It's so tough to find the time to garden, or do anything really! But I always feel so accomplished when I stick with it :)

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    2. Okay, so James wants to correct that it's 6 miles from Boston. Important details here ;)

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    3. I completely appreciate the attention to detail!

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  3. I love your community garden posts -- it's so amazing to me that there are opportunities to garden for all situations. And your photos just slay me! They are beautiful, Lilly, especially with that gray sky and bright green grass, and beautiful children running and playing with wind-blown hair.

    I think you have the perfect situation!

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    1. Thanks so much Lauren! These are all iPhone pics (you really must get one ;) Although I do blame Instagram a bunch for stealing my blogging thunder... trying to correct that :). It does feel so good that these kids get to run in the wind, despite being close to the city (or I suppose in addition to being close to the city!), your kids seem to benefit from much the same. Yay for balance!

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