Friday, April 8, 2011

In which Truffula takes on another project in her spare time (oops! did she write that "out loud"?!)...

The long and short of it is that I hated looking at the island in our cul-de-sac.  The grass was worn.  The pavers at the mailboxes were half-buried.  One of the trees was well on its way to The Great Beyond.  What's a Green She-ro to do but to dig in?

I planned ahead for this project.  When the leaves from the deciduous tree in the island fell two Falls ago, I gathered the TruffulaBoyz, equipped us with rakes, and started scoopin'.  Eight trashcans-full later, my compost bins were overflowing, and the street was clean.

Fast-forward to last Fall: I gathered signatures of from all of the neighbors, marched the paperwork over to the homesowners' association office, and submitted my "architectural change" proposal for the circle.

Two neighbors offered to cut down the dying tree, and made short work of the task.

Come October, I dug my holes in the compacted soil, amended the soil with lugged-over pails of by-then finished compost, and lovingly transplanted perennials I'd been cultivating in the nursery our yard.  One neighbor spontaneously came over, bearing a pot full of things she had just thinned out from her own garden.  Another gave me free rein to remove sweet woodruff, and to rehome it.  The results looked great for a fledgling garden.

And, then... the landscapers came through with their rakes and blowers, and beat me to that year's crop of leaves.  What was worse, they raked and scraped up my carefully-planted specimens!  The horror!  I tried not to think about the planting tragedy all winter long, hoping that Mother Nature would have looked favorably on any remaining roots.

With the (finally) warming weather of Spring, the boyz and I ventured out to the circle.  Miraculously, we spotted bits of green.  They were very small bits, but bits all the same.  Hurrah!

Hopefully, this will keep plants safe and little feet out.

I quickly shepherded my gang home, pulled out paper, crayons, and page protectors, and devised some signs: "Plants at work!  Please help us grow."  Just as quickly, we headed back out with hammer, twine, and the signs, hoping to fashion "fence posts" around our precious plants from found twigs.

While we were improvising our fence, a neighbor offered us some real stakes.  Now, hammering them in began in earnest.  I'm happy to report that exactly zero fingers were injured in the process -- all of the hammer strokes were aimed true.  Whew!

And to the neighbor who waved as she drove out, and then stopped her car to roll down the window and comment: Thanks, it was nice to see you, too.  Yes, children do play in this circle area.  No, they will not automatically destroy the plantings.  The solution of choice is for them to get invested in the project some dirt under their fingernails.  Isn't it grand that this modest project has gotten us talking to each other just a little?  In the meanwhile, let's have a violet green salad!

Autumn Joy Sedum pushing through the mulch.

A clump of violets - not weeds, but edging plants! :-)


Wendy said...

Awesome! Great story ... and I like that you end with offering some "salad" ingrdients to your neighbor ;). Too cool!

Green Bean said...

Good for you! I love this story - except the part about the landscapers blowing away the leaves and raking over the plants. Why do they always do that?!? Anyway, I suppose all is well that ends well. Great way to brighten up the neighborhood, spread green literally, and build community.


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