Monday, July 02, 2012

Chainsaw Gardening

Planting gardens in public spaces, like this raingarden at the Senior Center on Harrison Street, has its risks. With the surrounding ground maintained by crews familiar only with mowing grass and trimming shrubs, you never know when some new crew member might unknowingly unleash his weapons of vegetative suppression on the comparatively rambunctious wildflowers.

 Years back, one of the wetland gardens I was nurturing in a park in Durham, NC, had reached a fine stage of spring splendor when I arrived on the scene to find it had been completely mowed down by a clueless city employee. The first time this happened, it was like a punch to the gut--a labor of love destroyed. The garden grew back, however, and the next year when yet another new worker accidentally mowed it, my skin was a little thicker. 

This conditioning prepared me well for a sight this past May, as I came strolling down Harrison Street to see how my raingarden grew.
Not so great, as the blueberry bushes, Joe-Pye-Weed and other wildflowers were at that very moment falling victim to a chainsaw massacre.

It's always smart to be diplomatic when approaching people with chainsaws in their hands, even when they're decimating your garden. And so I walked up calmly and we discussed the situation. He was under orders from his boss, but we came to an understanding that the plants in that special spot were to be left to grow.

The next time I saw him, we laughed about it, but I know that somewhere deep down, the guts still churned.

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