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QOTD and on planting a garden

July 10th, 2008

“If you have come to help me you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

— Aboriginal activists group, Queensland, 1970s

I read that quote for the first time today — it moves me. I read it here and read about it here.

(I love finding out the history of quotes, don’t you? They can get so muddled and mis-attributed along the way. So it was cool seeing credit go to where it was due on that one.)

Here is something I frequently talk about with people in “real” life, but rarely on the blog: My husband, Steve, is fairly outspoken. (Read this post, too, if you haven’t already.)

That’s getting to be well-known, that he is a political person. People keep asking when he’s running for office and I ask them, “Have you seen our blogs?” I mean, for real. Who would elect either one of us? I am political and vocal, too, of course, just in different ways from Steve. He works through the proper channels, is forthright and has a logical mind; I knit and plot the revolution. What I don’t write about here is how we go about our work. I don’t really blog about our different styles and how they mesh. Or don’t. It is a difficult thing to put into words, but we’ve woven it together pretty well over the past decade plus.

Also, it’s kind of a mystery to me, and I don’t want to mess with it.

I will say that sometimes we clash, mostly we agree. We spend almost all of our free time together, but at the same time completely do our own things. We like our independence, whether it’s expressed in big ways or small. A couple of months ago I planted a little garden at the high school. This turned out to be a tiny and a huge thing, and not just for me. It started because every time I walked by this particular flower bed, I would grimace. Garbage, weeds, NO PLANTS. What is the point of an empty flower bed?

“Please take the space between us/
And fill it up some way/
Take the space between us/
And fill it up some way/”

“O My God”
The Police

More importantly — what is the point of bitching about it (all that garbage! Why doesn’t anyone clean it up? Doesn’t anyone think to plant there?) when you can do something about it?

It took me three hours. I filled it up. (Not really, but it will be after the plants get established and fill it up.)

Daphne, grasses, lavender and rosemary and more lavender. Spiderwort. Some vegetables, which are not perennial, not at all, but I had extra seed packets and wanted to see some vegetables. It’s pretty now. Even the spiderwort, which likes to be babied, is enjoying its independence and thriving. I am working on “letting go and not being a control freak” which you can probably imagine is a huge challenge for me. I’ve decided:

1) if anyone yanks up the plants, I will re-plant. I will not let it get me down.
2) if someone decides that they can put in a better garden than I did, they can have at it.
3) However. If their garden dies from neglect, or if they get bored and abandon it, I will re-plant again.
4) I’ll keep picking up garbage (there are three cans nearby, this is not a big deal) and keep up on the weeding.
5) I’ll try to keep the plantings perennial, native, and in need of little water (once they’re established)
6) no boxwoods, rhodies or camellias, sorry. I love them, but I want something a little different. Maybe a smoke bush? I love these when they bloom.
7) I might plant another bed, too, that’s adjacent to this one (Mom and I planned it out yesterday — we may or may not follow through. Day lilies, lilies of the valley, a smoke bush?, daffodils, iris, something tall, like a tree peony? She has tons of starts, and her friend has a greenhouse with starts to share).

I made friends with a couple of the neighbors, who are helping me water. Did I mention that a water source is a problem? There’s a spigot, but it looks rusted over. No shed for a hose. No little dealie to turn on the spigot. A local gardener/landscape designer stopped by school the other day — she wants to write some grants, do a master plan. I told her go for it.

One of our PTA members and some students she knows went around the whole school, for no particular reason, and did a big clean-up. The alumni association did another clean-up. We have Community Care Day planned for August 23rd. I’m not the only one who is paying attention, is what I’m saying.

Anyway. The custodian? Turns out he likes to garden, too. He’s been helping me water, and he did a bunch of sprucing up to the beds that are near the bed I worked on. Suckers taken down from trees, hedges pruned back, weeds and garbage gone.

“Looks nice around here, doesn’t it?” he asked me yesterday. “People are starting to talk.”



  1. Vixen says

    You are really an amazing person, girlfriend

    July 10th, 2008 | #

  2. The Other Laura says

    What a wonderful gift to give to the world – a garden!

    I was talking to Lefty just this morning about the “no complaints” movement and how I want to stop complaining about things and do something, or let it go or get over it but mostly just stop using so many of my words for complaining.

    July 10th, 2008 | #

  3. WackyMommy says

    Vixen, I’m just copying you is all.

    TOL, it’s an epidemic, isn’t it? I’m one of the biggest culprits, that’s for sure.

    July 10th, 2008 | #

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