Changes ...

Notes from the Garden

So quickly the gentle tenderness of spring passes, and now, on the Solstice, we have the beginnings of the tough, bright, intense, full-bodied and highly fragrant gardens of our summer months. Instead of the soft verdant lushness of our wet Spring, we have the romping exuberance of summer. Well, yes we still have to imagine all of this fullness, but we can say that our spring ephemerals have quietly gone away.
The blooms on my Vancouveria plants still show, and the Heucheras have their spikes remaining high in the air, but we know that they will be thoroughly overshadowed as soon as the roses reach perfection, and our food plants start to throw their vigor around in our garden beds.
Our evenings are now filled with light, and regrettably the sounds of power tools. After our cold and dark winters it is such a pleasure to be IN the garden, rather than looking AT the garden through rain-streaked windows. However, it seems that just as I settle into a comfortable chair for the requisite summer G&T, a neighbor will power up their garden tool. Yes, there 'ought to be a law'. Maybe we could, for a start, only allow power tools on day(s) starting with the letter T, or M?
I can scarcely find words to write about the devastation in the Gulf of Mexico, but do we not need to reflect on how we use energy that is petroleum based? It seems so small a gesture, but de-commissioning the blowers and whackers and mowers, we would immediately have less noise pollution, air pollution, and petroleum pollution. Think of the energy costs for those machines, and translate that cost into providing jobs. A sturdy rake, a push mower, a good broom and some cash looks like a winning solution. Yes, it is easier to hire a mow-and-blow company, but easy solutions regarding energy use are now ancient history.
Perhaps the Parks Dept. could start a revolution? As I write this the noise from their machines being used to "tend" to the local park have been creating egregious noise pollution for the last three hours. When I think about how the Japanese tend their parks and gardens, ever so quietly, and with palpable gentleness, I weep for our brusque approach.
The city and county are closing parks due to revenue shortfalls. So, has anyone looked at their energy costs? Has anyone done a comparison study of using hand tools versus power tools? Has anyone in the Parks Department looked at design solutions? My garden beds are designed to absorb the sweepings from my paths, after a vigorous raking. If I can still push a broom ...
And so we weep when we allow our thoughts to wander back to the painful and incomprehensible fouling of all life in the Gulf. We tend our gardens with a new awareness of their fragility. We hear the birdsong (after the tools become silent), and watch their swooping and glorious oil-free flights. We look in more depth at the areas of our lives where we might be able to move forward towards the important transition away from oil.
This is not the first oil crisis in America's history. There were filthy rich fat cats in New England in the 19th century. Their riches came from their pursuit of whale oil. Randy Kennedy wrote a brilliant and informative article in the June 13th edition of the New York Times, entitled The Ahab Parallax. Yes, literature informing our lives, and I will just give you a very brief quote: "...from that wordy, wayward Manhattanite we know as Ishmael, whose own doomed vessel, the whaler Pequod, sailed only through the pages of 'Moby-Dick'."[[In-content Ad]]