Community : a group of like-minded individuals sharing a commonality
Garden : a place where natural things can grow & flourish
Community gardens are a place where these two things can flourish together beautifully.
I don’t have a plot in the community garden for I have my own flourishing patio garden at my home just a block away. I walk along the tracks and gardens to and fro from my shop each day though. Often my meander home takes hours longer than my quick pace to open up, as I’m so captivated by all the natural wonder at dusk I linger so along the way.
An artist, photographer and nature lover I’m always capturing the gardens with my camera. I also like to sit in them when I write, or need to make some calls. Currently I am seeking shelter in them while my home is under renovation and my own garden is upheaved.
I also turn to the gardens when I am weary and overwhelmed by the hectic pace of urban life and always get centered by the grounding aspect of this natural environment. Surrounded by blossoms, bumble bees, open space and sweet air my spirit always lifts.
So you can imagine my shock and dismay to learn that CP Railway has asked all the gardeners along the abandoned railway tracks to upheave their plots by months end. That’s right, peak of summer. Raspberry canes just starting to drip with berries, poppies in full abundance, apple trees about to bear fruit, and children, dog walkers, nature lovers all milling around enjoying a feeling of, yes, community….
Most likely it’ s a bluff, a bullying gesture. Seems highly unlikely an active train is going to run through gentle neighbourhoods, parks and gardens all along our fair city. Yet this is what is being proposed. It seems our world ( and city ) is going in two directions. Farm to table movements rise, people are turning their decorative gardens into active food plots, magazines such as Kinfolk flourish and wonderful local groups such as our Farmacie put on community dinners to promote and support going green in our urban environments, yet federal & corporate policies threaten the bounty of our land. I’ve never been an activist nor involved in politics, yet for the first time ever my heart strings felt so pulled by the news about uprooting the gardens growing along the old railroad tracks I envisioned myself staring down a train as it was trying to thunder through my neighbourhood. I’m happy to be providing props from my boutique for an outdoor long table dinner party hosted by Farmacie July 12th on the grounds of a school that has it’s students growing a fabulous kitchen garden. I look forward to breaking bread and connecting with a new circle of people that want to nourish our children and our urban environments.
I am committed to nurturing our natural world, capturing it’s beauty so that I may share it with others, and honoring it in such a way that hopefully generations and creatures to come will also share it’s bounty. It’s become clear to me over this past week that this is my place and purpose as an artist. This is where I belong. All these images were captured by myself in the community gardens just one block from my home.
Copyright Heather Ross 2014