Photo shoot, two sessions, May 27, 2012 – Word on the street is “I don’t remember the garden looking so jungley.” Indeed, it’s overflowing with vitality. Remember that super-intense composting project? See The Art of Compost for documentation. See below for results!
My brother and I have an ongoing routine when I’m working on the garden. He: “Is it perfect yet?” She: “Whatever, whatever, mumble, mumble, something.” He once mentioned that I couldn’t proceed on the premise of having a relationship with every single leaf and rock. But I do. Anyway, most recently, my answer was quick and clear: “It’s beyond perfect.”
Down on my belly to take these pics, I realize there’s an entire little ecosystem happening here, including the slugs and snails. The former can be cringe-inducing, the latter are cute, they both rend holes in the fabric and sometimes eat entire plants. But we’ve established détente, and I will do nothing to eliminate them.
The image titles tell a story, too. Backstory to the story, aka, history … Years ago there were two large mulberry trees in this area and my friend Mona began adding shade-loving plants: violas, Solomon’s seal, ajuga. Then the trees were cut down and we got more extravagant with lilies, hostas, peppermint. It was looking really good.
Next up, sidewalk reconstruction. I met with the project manager and asked how far the work would extend, then carefully cleared the areas and set the flora aside for replanting. BUT. I came home one day and found the entire garden covered with cast-off cement and other construction rubble, inches deep. Oh.
Smooshed up against one of the brick walls, I glimpsed a bit of green. Poked about and discovered it was the peppermint, still fully alive. After asking the landlord if it was OK to rebuild, I proceeded to dig out the entire plot with a spoon and hauled the debris away, rescuing what could be rescued and slowly evolving the mix to its current unbelievable lushness. June 2, 2012 – Life is amazing in all its permutations. Rock on.
Photographs by Catherine Rutgers © 2012
This post is dedicated to Susan Scutti, who always inspires me to keep working.