Blogtober: transformation

My front yard garden, here in its third summer.

So I’m a couple days late on this post. I’ve been working on a post about transformation for several days now, but the particular interpretation i chose is still too big to handle quickly. I bit off more than I can chew for a quick daily post. So I’ll try a slightly different interpretation. Never fear though, I’ll keep working on the original post– it’s something that I really want to write, I just need to take longer on it than usual.

Native plants I grew included swamp milkweed (the pink flowers), common milkweed, and even a few persimmon trees grown from wild seeds.

They say time spent in nature can be transformative, can change how you experience life. We also can transform nature itself– our climate itself is changing due to human activities. That’s the bad kind of transformation, at least unfortunate. But we can have a positive influence too. All the sterile monoculture lawns could be turned into wildlife gardens, for example. Imagine neighborhoods buzzing with activity as bees and other pollinators flit from flower to brilliantly colored flower. Birds sing as they hunt through the shrubs for plump caterpillars to feed their babies. Doesn’t that sound nicer than silent, sterile lawns? And there’s much less mowing to do! Bonus.

One winter we even had a Cooper’s Hawk visit, hunting the songbirds that were attracted to my feeders.

I transformed much of my front yard into gardens, back when I lived in Rockville. For ten years, I created and annually expanded a veggie garden, ending up with a 12’x 12′ patch full of tomatoes and hot peppers and summer squash and much more. Other areas of the yard I turned into native flower patches. It was wonderful! I loved looking out the window to see small animals enjoying my handiwork, from squirrels and chipmunks to rabbits to songbirds (and occasionally a hawk or two), even the neighborhood fox now and then. And so many gorgeous insects! Of course my heart’s desire was caterpillars, and I had plenty of them so long as I let plenty of dill reseed itself. If you’re looking for a completely hands-off crop, dill might be the way to go. It reseeds gloriously. I always had more than I needed, but barely had the heart to thin out too many, so usually had most of my garden taken over by towering dill by the end of the summer.

Some of my yearly dill forest in bloom. All those yellow flowers will turn into seeds to grow more dill next year!

That all being said, still the most triumphant feeling was when neighbors started putting in vegetable gardens after seeing mine. 🙂 OnceI even surprised a neighbor’s kid “stealing” a couple tomatoes. I would happily have given him some if he asked, of course, so didn’t really chastise him. The idea that he wanted my fresh vegetables was so enchanting– especially since we hear so often about kids that hate veggies. (I never was one of those, but maybe because I helped my parents in our own garden so I had a different relationship with veg.)

The birds often dropped sunflower seeds into the garden. Those flowers attracted lots of pollinators and always put a smile on my face.

So I feel like I transformed a whole lot with just my front yard gardens– the neighborhood ecosystem, my neighbors’ views on gardens and gardening, my neighbors’ children’s ideas about veggies. It gave me so much happiness too.

Migrating monarchs often visited my late-season flowers like these coneflowers.

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