I’ve been busing trying to prepare the garden for the East Sac Edible Garden Tour while keeping an eye on my little one in the garden. I would say that I am a pretty messy gardener. My garden is a working garden, meaning that when you walk through it you see all stages of the gardening process and it isn’t all lovely flowers and pristine plants. A lot of gardening is about death, and decay as well. My garden works for me to feed my family and if you are going to have a sustainable garden it sometimes means that there are also signs of death in my garden. My beans have been dying back and the pods are drying on the plants. In this death, there is rebirth with the gift of seeds for next season. Spent tomato, squash, and corn plants make a nice messy pile in the corner of the garden to be cut into smaller pieces and composted. In this decay, new rich soil will be made for next spring’s garden. Now a working garden isn’t always perfectly manicured and picture perfect. It should be messy. And if it doesn’t show plants in all of their glory (even their dying glory) then it isn’t a garden from which I can learn or which sustains me from year to year.
However, this weekend I will have lots (hopefully hundreds of people) walking through my garden. So this adds a layer of complexity to my decisions in the garden. Normally I would leave plants in the ground to die back in their own sweet time but it doesn’t look particularly nice. Normally I would have my garden beds overflowing onto the walk ways in which passing becomes a feat in acrobatics. Normally, I have tools, bamboo poles, and trellises laying about. But none of this makes for a pleasant visit to my garden.
So the this week will be a fury of garden chores so that people can pass through my garden and not get injured.
I hope people can appreciate a working garden. Any time I go on garden tours, I first try to find the compost piles. Partly because I am really strange and partly because the compost pile (or lack thereof) tells me a lot about the type of garden this is. I want to see dynamic gardens because those are the ones full of life. A compost pile tells me that this garden is about a complete process and not just about plants that look great. Even when I went to Butchard Gardens on Vancouver Island, I was peering over the fences to see if I could find huge compost piles (I didn’t see any by the way). If you ever see me on a garden tour, I am probably in the back corners of the garden in search of a compost pile while everyone else is smelling the roses. Honestly, I’d rather be smelling compost.