Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Last night on the East Side

As it's now officially fall, nights have begun to get darker earlier. It was already dark when we met at Megan's house to begin our second Garden Posse guerrilla garden. We had a good crew of guerrilla gardeners, plus some newcomers who were eager to be introduced to a dig.

A few people generously brought seeds and transplants. I was lucky enough to have a car full - I mean, packed full - of plants, soil, compost, and mulch. Many, many, many thanks to Sam at Shoal Creek Nursery. We had enough plants to have a giveaway at the end of the night, and more left over to add to the 34th & Guad garden.

But back to the chronological order of things. We traipsed down to the site, a traffic triangle handily lit by a streetlamp and almost within spraying distance of a hose we've been given the go-ahead to use. Our plan was to dig a deep, wide hole for a tree - the centerpiece of our garden. There was a problem with that idea. First, as you see with Travis' earlier post, we did not actually have a tree. And as a neighbor came by and emphatically pointed out, we were digging into what used to be a gravel road. Indeed, our shovels and pick-axes were turning up a lot of rocks, crappy soil, and shattered glass deposited over the years. We may have dug down to the 1930's layer of broken beer bottles.

We revised our plan. Megan had the idea of bringing in a fruit tree in a pallet-like box, that could be filled with rich soil and not have to suffer through the glass-laden dirt. So we saved a space for the tree and created a doughnut hill around it, adding the compost and soil. We planted as many veggies and flowers and seeds as possible. We even transplanted a bottle of Wild Irish Rose, which was found growing wild (obviously).

The dig lasted for about 2 hours, and it was a sight to see. A big group of people standing in a circle and hammering away at the hard ground. Particularly because we are not the most diverse group of people (ahem), in a neighborhood that is mostly black, people were very curious about what we were doing. They pulled up in their cars and asked out their windows, "What are you doing?" When we said we were building a garden, they thought that was pretty cool. People came out of their houses, and either offered to help water it, or said they were not about to dig into an old gravel road but encouraged our action.

My favorite comment of the night came from a white woman who drove up to us and said the neighbors had knocked on her door. "There's a group of white people digging down the street," they said. "Are you associated with them?" She said she had to find out what was going on.

So yes, it was a sight, but I don't have any pictures because my camera ran out of batteries. But we'll be back at this garden next week, hopefully with a tree in a box.

Also, several people have mentioned that they'd like to organize more Garden Posse social events. Please feel free! They don't have to be gardening-related, or on Tuesday nights. But they should be potentially fun. Just become an author of the blog and post a blurb about what you have planned, and I will add it to our calendar.

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