Saturday, July 25, 2009


Working on the bee garden has been a boon to me. Since it has been hot and dry I must water it thoroughly twice a week, hauling the hose out, patiently waiting to move it from one sunflower to the next. It's a great way to have a physical relationship with a garden. Today I saw a lady bug larva on a sunflower petal, but of course by the time I retrieved my camera it had disappeared. I saw a few leaf-cutter bees today too, in the sunflowers and perennial sweet peas. Most times watering the garden nurtures my soul, but today I was very upset by what I discovered. Someone pulled out all the calendula grown from seed and put it on the compost pile. I'm pretty sure I know who did it, at least I have a prime suspect. He is angry, rancorous, possessive, and he wanted to send me a message. I don't really know him, but he lives in the neighbourhood and he doesn't think I should be able to have permission to grow this garden because I don't live as close to the garden as he and his friends do. The flowers had been pulled out by the roots and were still fresh, so this cowardly act was done this morning before I came to the garden. (There is a story behind this story which involves well-meaning gardeners, a misunderstanding, and a death in the community.)

Obviously this person is suffering from some personal trauma. He frightens me, but at the same time, what I know is he (or she) needs healing, redemption, or a good kick in the a--. The bee garden is meant to be a healing garden, and perhaps it is functioning as such, but not in the way I imagined it would. A memorial garden for a deceased neighbour was completely destroyed as well, so what worries me is that this destructive bent will continue until the perp gets a reaction from me. He wants me to get angry at him because he feels empowered by conflict. Peace leaves him feeling impotent. Yes, these are the people in our neighbourhoods.

This experience just reminds me again how transient gardening is. Like a mandala that is painstakingly prepared and then swept up every season, it's here today and gone tomorrow. By gardening in a public space, I have become emotionally involved with a community that is dying to garden. Everyone wants their bit of soil to lay down roots, to connect to the life-force of the planet itself. I feel the desperation, not just from one person, but from apartment buildings full of people: men, women, and children. Some days it's too much for me to handle. Sigh.

' In the meantime, here are some photos of what's blooming now and the garden.

Behold, Sunzilla!

A leafcutter bee with an abdomen covered in bright yellow pollen.

Russian Sage, or Perovskia. We saw this planted in roadside gardens in the Okanagan, where it does well in the dry climate.

EYA apprentice beekeepers inspect the hive with instructor Brian Campbell.

Mint wins the prize for being the plant most busy with busy today.

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