My First Plot

I have many fond memories of the park. When I was a little girl I lived on a street adjacent to Ault Park. There was summer day camp at the park, the Fourth of July fireworks, riding our bikes around the Pavilion and taking in the dogs that were abandoned by their owners near the park.

After many years living out of state, I returned home, a bit battered from the previous year and still working my way out of the muck. The garden I had dedicated myself to for years was now under a new owner’s care and my new yard with its rocky, clay soil was giving me fits. Life was getting better, but I still felt a bit discombobulated.

One day, I was touring Ault Park with a few fellow garden enthusiasts when I noticed the small gardens on the north lawn. Yews had been planted around the lawn in a Greek Key pattern with small garden plots and Magnolias positioned within the pattern. Most of the gardens had a plaque with the name of the garden and its keeper. I presumed the gardens were all spoken for and with so many people living in close proximity to the park, the waiting list for available plots would be a mile long. But I was optimistic and made my desire for a plot known to the park’s advisory council.

As luck would have it a young lady was adopting a new plot and wanted to release her original plot. I eagerly accepted the plot and named it Putting Down Roots I, a fitting name I thought. The plot was off to the side and was, as the previous owner described, a bit of a dog. It was rocky, next to the compost pile and had a tree growing smack dab in the middle.

The first day I weeded, pulled rocks and spent a lot of time just looking and thinking about my new little garden. It was rough and lacking focus, as if it was trying to find out what style of garden it was supposed to be. I helped it along adding new plants rearranging existing ones and keeping the weeds at bay. To me, it simply needed time to grow into itself and I was more than happy to coach it along.

The garden is looking better now. I still swap out plants, move things around and spend time just looking and thinking about the little space. But now there is a lot more to enjoy.


What a little watering of the garden can do for a girl.

I had set aside a few hours Thursday to work on an article. An early morning run calmed my mind and I had a clear idea of what I wanted to write about. But by the time my regular work was completed, I had lost my garden writing groove. The words, which usually come clear and smooth in sentences and paragraphs were tripping and stumbling onto the page. It wasn’t pretty.

So I packed it up and headed to the park to water my shade garden. The drive into the park failed to entice me. The leaves looked dull and brown, the grass crispy. And why are all these people running in the road? We have sidewalks!

I squeezed into the crowed parking lot and pulled my garden hose, a tangled and knotted mess, out of the trunk.

No one was picnicking near the lawn spigot. Ah, I had caught a break at last.  As I trained the hose on the Oak leaf Hydrangea, the warm water, as it rushed past my thumb, began to settle me. Deep breath. The Autumn fern looked rather nice. Another deep breath. I loved the way the sunlight maked the water look like silver flashes in the garden.

I watched the water, silver flashes set against the green of the garden.  It was beautiful. Beautiful the way it caught the sunlight. Beautiful how it moved through the air in graceful arches. And it was beautiful the way it turned my sour mood on its head.


Under the Shade of a Tree

I love the old photos of Ault Park. Here is a favorite of mine.  These ladies look beautiful in their white dresses. At times I wish we were more formal as a society. I would prefer to see more dresses and less jeans at church, more chinos than low rise jeans with belly shirts on kids waiting for the school bus and more day clothes than flannel pajamas at the stores.

But what I never want to see change is friends and families coming together to enjoy a day at the park. Any event is more memorable when you share it with others in a place as beautiful as Ault Park.

A recent celebration I attended at the park.

As much as I would love to dress up, I am quite sure that playing tag, hide-n-seek and picking acorns on the hard, parched ground would have been dreadful in a white, cotton dress.