Gardening for Good 2014, 6th night

First order of the evening is always to tend to the garden. There was a lot to harvest-garlic scapes. beets, kale, lettuce. The garden is so lush now. The potatoes have blossoms, the tomatoes and tomatillos are growing, kale is luxurious, beets are thriving, lettuce and basil are flourishing in a raised bed. Lovely blue bachelor buttons and yellow calendula are adding color. Everyone started on a job, and we were weeding, watering, and harvesting. Ann planted two rows of veggies, Kate and Sarah planted two rows of zinnias.

The activity for the evening was flower arranging.

When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.
 Georgia O’Keeffe quotes (American Painter1887-1986)

Everyone selected flowers that appealed to them, made an arrangement that they could take with them, and be inspired all week long (hopefully) by the making of the arrangement and the beauty of the flowers.

We sent notes to Rick, who is working on the biggest job, of recovery. We miss you!

Gardening for Good 2014, 5th night

On this gorgeous evening we started as usual, with watering our plants that had grown much more since the last time we had been at the garden. We had to water quickly, because there was an art project to do. We made designs with parts of nature and used special paper to let the sunshine come through and leave prints; they turned out beautifully. Afterwards we all chatted and chowed down on some delicious snacks. It’s nights like these that remind us of how lucky we are to have the garden and each other.

Troy Gardens: A Strange Place I Learned to Like…..By Diamonds Last Denero

denero, marge, jeff, toby

Note: Denero and Toby are two horses who came to Troy Gardens in June to visit Gardening For Good, a program for people with and without disability at Troy Community Gardens. This story was transcribed by Marge Pitts, to whom the horses belong.
I’m Denero: a fine colt with a lot to offer. I’m secondary to Toby, an old horse who knows everything. My best friend in the herd. We both work for our Person, whose name is Mahahahhhrrge.
She’s in charge of my education. She led Toby and me onto a trailer and we went fast without moving our feet; across the land to a city and through the city to a quiet green street, where the trailer stopped and she led me out onto a place of grass and pavement. Jeff-ff-ff-ff, a friend of Mahahahhhrrge, led Toby out.
We crossed a wide lane of pavement onto a narrow lane of pavement. There were trees on one side and a strip of grass on the other; beyond which cars went by slowly. It was nice. Mahahahhhrrge and I followed Jeff-ff-ff-ff and Toby, who knew the way, I could tell. I wondered where we were going, but I trust my friends and I felt happy.
We soon came to an open space like I’ve never seen. So many Persons! And so much grass, and many other plants that I’ve never seen in the pasture where I live. As soon as we got there, Toby sighed, “Grahahahassss!” and lowered his head to eat. Yes, there was unlimited grass, and I tried some and yes, it was full of delicious sweet clover, but there was so much to see and smell I simply had to throw my head high in the air to take it all in.
The odd things these Persons were doing! They were scattered about, in small corrals where the strange plants grew. Some had sticks they stirred the earth with; some were pulling plants out of the earth and some were placing plants into the earth. And I couldn’t believe it: some of these Persons were holding snakes that spewed water out of their mouths. Just standing in their corrals, holding snakes that were spewing water! At least I thought they were snakes; but they didn’t glow like other living creatures so I felt very confused. I raised my head higher to see and smell more.
Beyond the plant corrals I saw a wide space of grass, and trees past that, and more space beyond the trees. Obviously, that’s where horses should be—but I couldn’t see nor smell any other horses. What’s up with that? I thought. I looked to see if Toby was alarmed, but he was grazing in complete peace while Jeff-ff-ff-ff calmly held his lead rope. I took a quick bite of grass, and yes it was quite good, but I just had to throw my head in the air again. Several Persons were approaching us, glowing with happiness. They stroked and hugged Toby, and when they got to me they stroked and hugged me! What was up with this?
I like being hugged and petted; in fact I’m perfect for it. I’m especially handsome: my coat is brilliant orange like the first color of the sunset; my face is precious. I meet Persons with my nose so I can read their breath; and if I smell love I rest my chin on their shoulder and breathe love back into their ear. These Persons not only smelled like love, they glowed of it. One Person lived in a moving chair. I saw images in his mind of other horses from long ago, and him riding them instead of a chair. His name was Steheheheve.steve denero, marge, carol Some Persons glowed uncertain, but curious, just like me. Still, I couldn’t fully enjoy our introductions; I was troubled by what I could and couldn’t see on that land. My head was high up in confusion and I simply couldn’t bring it down and relax.
Mahahahhhrrge said to Jeff-ff-ff-ff, “Let’s walk him around the place so he’s not so looky-looky.” I found myself following Jeff-ff-ff-ff and Toby right up the middle of the place where the plant corrals were. Mahahahhhrrge held my lead rope. Thanks to my education I know not to walk ahead of the Person holding the rope; so even though I was afraid, my education held me together.
And the things I saw as we walked! Turns out those weren’t snakes spewing water; they were hoses like the ones in the water tanks at home. Once I learned that I felt better. We came through the plant corrals onto a grassy place, where we stopped and Toby resumed his calm grazing. I dropped my head to tear a few mouthfuls of grass, and it was exceptionally tasty, but again I threw my head up to look for something that might go wrong in that unfamiliar place. Since I didn’t know what could go wrong I felt frustration. In a place with good grass! The irony infuriated me. No horse can chew and maintain fear, but my mind was stuck. Then Mahahahhhrrge, seeing my problem, led me through the exercises I’ve learned. Walk in a circle around her; trot, walk, ho; move my hips left, move them right, focus on my Person. We made progress this way: walk to a new spot, grab a bite (and I must say I’ve never had better grass) and when the anxiety comes Mahahahhhrrge asks me to obey her, remember my education; and when I feel better, I can chew.
“Let’s take them back where we started,” Mahahahhhrrge said to Jeff-ff-ff-ff. “He’ll recognize where he’s been before.” So that’s what we did. When we got back, the place smelled like horses, and my friend Steheheheve was there, and all the other sweet Persons too. They gathered around me with their soft touches and kind words. I lowered my head to the good grass, and chewed in peace.

Gardening for Good, 4th night

The weather has been nearly perfect for the first three gatherings. We all know, a little rain must fall. And it did-for days. There had been tornado warnings during the previous several days, and severe storm damage occurred in places around Madison. Rather than risk being caught in dangerous and stormy weather, the meeting was moved to a nearby restaurant, Brat und Brau. It was a wonderful gathering place for a large group. The staff were welcoming and helpful.

We started by enjoying a taste of food passed around, or a meal, with conversation around the table or in booths to the side. Who can pass up onion rings? Our activity was woven into conversation, and we each decorated a card that had a prompt word. The words were evocative, such as fun, laughter, delicious, helping etc. Each person used their word to tell a story about the garden. The definition of prompt is to encourage or assist a hesitating speaker. It was so lovely to hear the heartfelt stories that came about with this gentle assist. Everyone listened as the storytelling went around the table. Each person had a chance to say something about the garden from their point of view.

Rain or shine, storytelling with friends is a great way to spend an evening.

Gardening for Good, 3rd night


It was a perfect evening. The first part of the night we spent in the garden planting different beans and watering the plants. The basil was coming in and it smelled so delicious that Laura couldn’t get enough of it. On the other side of the garden Randy planted an oak tree, which was very exciting for us all.

We only spent a short amount of time gardening because it was a very special night, Marge brought her horses! She brought Toby, who had been to the garden before, as well as her newer horse, Dinero, which was his first time at the garden. We were in such awe by their beauty that it was a very mellow evening. We all had a chance to pet the horses, and many different people from the neighborhood also came by to see the beautiful creatures.

Once we were done playing with the horses we paraded around the garden with signs to hang on the gardens which we thought were beautiful. It was amazing to see how many different kinds of gardens there were and how happy we all were to walk around together and let others know how awesome their gardens look after spending so many hours on them. Afterwards we headed back to our garden and had some delicious snacks and chatted with our friends. It was such a beautiful night and every week seems to be even more enjoyable than the last.

written by Zoe!

Gardening for Good, 2nd night

On our 2nd night in the garden, there was a bumper crop of lettuce to be picked. It had been in the hoop house since it was planted last Fall. The spinach that had been planted in early Spring was also ready to pick. Doug took on the daunting job of putting ALL the lettuce and spinach into bags so that everyone who wanted could take some home with them. There was a LOT of lettuce. Everyone got to work with more planting, weeding, watering, building a trellis.

Trish O’Kane is a wonderful teacher who knows about the birds of Troy Gardens. We all walked to the edge of the woods. and when we got there, Trish asked us to close our eyes for a minute, and to LISTEN! We could recognize different bird calls. We heard robin, cardinal, crow, mourning dove, chickadee, red-winged blackbird, baltimore oriole . . . and maybe more.

We learned that when the female robin is sitting on the nest in the evening, the male brings her the last of the food he has collected for the day, and then sings a good night song to her before he goes to roost for the night, with the other male robins in the neighborhood.

Thanks to everyone who worked in the garden, to Trish, and to the birds who help keep our trees healthy by eating insects and spreading seeds!


Gardening for Good 2014, 1st night

A Glorious First Night of the Season

May 29, 2014. The weather could not have been prettier. The tent was set up, with chairs, treats on a table to the side, plants in the garden. But wait-first things first. People started arriving, happy to see one another, happy to be back, some people coming for the first time. Warm greetings and conversation, name tags for everyone, and then-to work planting. There was weeding to do, planting of vegetables, watering, tomato cages to be put up and anchored. The action seemed chaotic, with people and plants everywhere. But soon, with everyone lending a hand, the garden was planted, watered, and looked full of promise.

People next sat down to hear Jill Schneider give a brief introduction to Troy Gardens. Rebecca spoke for a short time, welcoming everyone. Next, Marge Pitts shared her thoughts about our dearly loved Gardenstory salons. There was time for everyone to say something about being in the garden, what they liked about it, or something that they noticed. Everyone had words to share.

Welcome to our beautiful garden!