This past weekend I participated in NYC Department of Parks and Recreation’s “It’s My Park Day” and volunteered at Butterfly Park, my neighborhood green space. I spent two hours weeding flower beds, planting drifts of daffodil bulbs, and getting dirt in my nails. It’s the best I’ve felt in awhile because I was helping beautify my community and I was doing what I truly enjoy, gardening.
I grew up in suburban Atlanta where my mother, the local hosta society guru, maintained a huge garden. We had an arbor with wisteria covering a lovely brick patio where we would enjoy outdoor dining. The sweet smell of wisteria blooms around Easter always brings back memories of the flowers covering the ground like a purple snow. We had a giant Japanese maple tree hanging over the pond providing the resident goldfish with shade in the hot Atlanta summer. There were rose-lined white picket fences and peonies galore. You name it, she grew it. We had a large indoor green space that resembled a greenhouse with many windows. Trees worthy of climbing and forts, such as magnolias, littered the property. I always dreamed of having a home with a garden like hers. And like the one in the movie Secret Garden. It’s a magical place of peace and tranquility.
When I lived on my own, I missed gardening so much I decided to take the urban approach and try container gardening. It was a delight to decorate my apartment decks and front porches with large containers dripping plants like creeping jenny. I planted peonies, decorative cabbage and pansies in the winter which kept my spirits up in the cold months. I always enjoyed flowering plants and never ventured too far into vegetable gardens.
Upon moving to NYC, I was dissappointed I couldn’t bring my containers and I didn’t have any green space in my new building. But one of the first places I saw upon moving to Park Slope was Butterfly Park. I hope to go back, weather permitting, every weekend and contribute to the community, get dirty, and enjoy the fruits of my labor come Spring in NYC.