Thursday, May 1, 2008

Finally, A Place To Sit

The garden at my daughter's charter school here in the District of Columbia is into its third season. A year ago a nearby condominium association donated five of these big, sturdy metal benches. I had the perfect spot for them: surrounding our herb garden, where my gardening partner, Elizabeth, built this brilliant, ceramic-lined pond. I envisioned this as a most excellent way for teachers and students to enjoy the garden, sitting quietly on the benches and soaking in the pleasures of our green urban oasis.

There was just one problem with the benches. The legs--heavy steel tubes--were designed to be sunk into the ground. Well, our ground is asphalt. So the legs needed to be custom-cut to size. One of the teachers, a sculptor, brought his grinding tool and fixed one of the benches. But then he was pulled away to do other things and the benches sat in pieces in a dark stairwell for months.

One year later, I couldn't wait any longer. This week I hiked down to the local tool rental shop and got my own grinder. A couple of hours later, the benches were finally in place. The fifth bench found a spot on the playground where teachers can sit while the kids are playing on the monkey bars.

Finally, we have a place to relax and enjoy our garden.

And just in time, too. The chives are blooming. And the perennial pond plants are responding to the change in seasons with new growth.

We have several clematis plants climbing the chain link fence that surrounds our garden. Some of them are quite spectacular.

The happiest plants of all in our garden are the lamb's ears. I'm not sure why, but they go wild. Our soil mix is at least half compost. They must like it. They are so rampant I've had to start thinning them. They would happily take over our containers and crowd out everything else.

The pinks come back right on schedule, even after they've been so rudely moved around during the lamb's ear thinning.

All I can say about these is, they are awfully red and hard to miss.

The roses like their beds of compost as well. We have a profusion of flower buds this year and the blossoms are exquisite.

Gardening can be so worth the effort sometimes.


The Baklava Queen said...

So beautiful! I hope to come back and visit again sometime, Ed... though it might not be until fall again (might be in DC then for a friend's wedding reception). Hope lots of people enjoy the benches and the oasis of peace and beauty!

Ed Bruske said...

Do let us know, Jennifer. We'll break open our fizziest jar of dandelion wine.

grace said...

looks like kids at the studio school should go out in their garden and start snapping photos for the next DC School Garden Week Photo Contest!

Kevin said...

I'm there -- or, rather, wish I were.

Ed Bruske said...

Grace, the kids have been in the garden planting seeds and watering. Pretty soon they'll be picking strawberries. I'm sure the cameras will follow.

Kevin, come by any time