May of 2019 marked the third Spring tending our 1/8 acre garden space just outside of downtown Raleigh. Every year it improves as we hone our skills and expand our collection of perennial and annual flowers, herbs and vegetables; with each new season, there are new victories and failures to celebrate and take in stride. This particular moment in the garden felt really special. It was the first moment I felt like I had a handle on the juggling act of succession planting, weeding, trellising, and all the other little tasks that create a garden space that feels not only bursting with life, but also well-tended and efficient. The cool season flowers we planted in Fall were in full bloom; snapdragons, foxglove, campanula, larkspur, agrostemma, bachelor’s buttons and poppies set an ethereal scene (you just know there are fairies somewhere when the foxglove blooms). The vegetable garden was full of delicious food – plenty for sharing – and beautiful examples of companion planting with herbs like calendula, nasturtium, lemongrass, lemon balm, basil, and shiso. The edges were tidy and the beds were mulched with a deep layer of compost. I was ready to exhale after tending many a seedling since early January and spending the whole winter spreading mulch and preparing infrastructure for a successful start to the season. It felt like an ideal moment to open up the garden for guests for the first time.
We set a table with garden-grown radishes, local bread and butter, lemongrass tea and a bottle of wine, and enjoyed a quintessential May evening in the garden with a group of joyful guests who asked fantastic questions about our growing practices, and learned to harvest a bouquet to take home. This kind of garden gathering represents what I love most about this work — reveling in the beauty of healthy and diverse ecosystems, finding little treasures to admire for a fleeting moment, experiencing this collective joy with others.
While summer got the best of us and we didn’t hold another Evening in the Garden in 2019, we still remember this moment in time fondly, and look forward to opening the garden for more programs in 2020 — not only to just take in the beauty of the space and cut flowers, but to share knowledge around regenerative practices of small-scale land stewardship. We all have a role to play in supporting the ecosystems where we live – even tiny slivers of urban and suburban backyards. We hope our garden can spark inspiration for others, and we hope you’ll keep in touch as we work to expand and deepen our educational offerings around organic, no-till, regenerative home growing practices. Thanks to those of you who attending this first Evening in the Garden — your enthusiasm was an encouragement that this kind of knowledge sharing is needed, wanted, and celebrated.
Happy Growing! -Hannah
Photos by Mina Von Feilitzch