National Tree Day and The Challenge of Gardening on Public Land

A core group of volunteers came out on this beautiful day, the sun shining down on our many and varied activities. First up, an unpleasant task. Part of the challenge of our beautiful organic community gardens is that we are open to a few more wild energies than most. On this glorious day a nasty surprise greets us, as we arrive to find glass smashed and broken all around the shed and behind the water tanks. An old barbeque with a glass part in the lid has even been bashed in. So there’s a bit of painstaking glass clearing before any real gardening can begin today. It seems that there was a disturbance in the area and a chase through the neighbourhood by police. And so the remnants may have been connected to whatever incident took place the night before. Its a reminder to all of us of the fragility of all our hard work. It seems however that the gardens were left alone, plants don’t make a satisfyingly deafening noise when damaged, and perhaps that’s why, on the whole, they seem to attract less of that kind of negative energy. In the end, we take the damage as feedback that there are too many smashables around, and vow to clear the rest away before more shards are spread.

Many hands do make light work, and while I would not go play hide and seek behind the water tanks any time soon, its hard to check for shards back there, the rest of the space was looking pretty normal again within about 30 minutes of 3-4 volunteers getting onto the job of cleaning up.

There are about 8 of us here today, and we group off into a variety of different tasks. Brian Wayne and Kat wandering off towards the hazel hedge with a barrow of four well soaked pear trees, the varieties are “Packham’s Triumph”, “Fascia Rosa”, “Beurre Blanc” and super high chill pear “Williams”, along with digging forks and spades. First we dig big holes and give the trees roots lots of loosened material to get their roots into, back fill with soil, then comes compost, cardboard coffee grounds and woodchips. Lastly we water. After ‘other jobs’ are completed we come together around the trees being planted. Jason demos the stove he’s built to test creating charcoal with, and we marvel at the lack of smoke. I am wondering all the time why the tea kettle was boiled in the shed on bottled gas and not in this super heat creating machine!

There’s a brief discussion about governance, or our lack of organisation thereof…. Lloyd and Kat both bring seeds to plant but that’s more than enough for one day!

More about this and other national tree day events here

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