The strip between the parking lots of the post office and the warehouse was barren. It constited of a long lump of dry beige soil and a few struggling sweet gum trees. A landscaping company came by once a month to spray it with poison and pick up the leaves. It was depressing.
It was also all we had. The company that I worked for several years back had custody of the parking spaces which faced the lump. Every time I got out of my car, I looked at the barren soil and sighed. I know very well how fertile this valley was. By all rights, this patch should be bursting with life.
I decided to stop grumbling and start a little back gate activism. I asked the landscapers if they would be able to back off from spraying the lump. I intended to transform the spot into a garden. The landscapers gave an odd look but agreed. If I want to save them time and they will still be paid the same, so be it. They aren’t stupid.
I also got permission from the business owner. She wasn’t happy to be forced to breath herbicide fumes every month so the sales pitch did not take much to gain approval. She would pay for watering it but that was all.
I told her my plan: gather organic waste from the business to mulch the ground with and plant hardy starts. All the waste was ground plant matter. I saved the business on the amount of garbage that would have been hauled away and I provided a pleasant place for people to gather.
I picked sturdy plants that could tolerate neglect. I did not spend any money on them. I chose extras from my own yard that had proven themselves year after year. Once and a while, a fellow employee would bring in their own plant donations. It was becoming a community project.
I salvaged a pallet and plopped it on the edge of the garden. This was a sunny spot where I could lean against the fence and escape into the growing world butterflies, bumble bees and the occasional hummingbird. It was a refuge, a place to find peace.
Years after I left the business, I got a call from a former coworker. Even though I had not been back for quite some time, the employees still found joy in the place and would water it and pull weeds as they ate their lunch on the pallet.
My friend sent me 2 pictures, which are featured in this blog, of a mama duck who also approved of the lump-turned-garden. She had made a nest among the green with last autumn’s sweet gum leaves.
Mama duck laid 10 eggs in the nest. Although the nest received a lot of interest from the employees of both the post office on the other side of the fence and the business employees, they kept a polite distance. Everyone sensed that this was a magical spot. The lump was now a place of wonder. Life had found the way.
Thanks to Glo for the mama duck photo and the photo of the nest. Thanks also to him for filling me in on this happy update. It made my day.
Post script: The duck eggs are hatched and the news is that 7 of the 10 babies are making it through childhood (ducklinghood?)