I was fortunate when one of my fellow volunteers offered me a lift to and from the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens (RTBG). Effortless for me. Very grateful. Overnight the wind had torn at houses and the landscape. When I awoke, the weather was still wildly performing outside. The mountain had disappeared. I texted my ride, told her that the weather was always good on Thursdays when we worked in the Food Garden, and suggested we should not be deterred by the current situation. We were not put off and by the time we walked in through the elaborate Victorian gates at the RTBG, the heavens above were very blue.
We signed on as usual and headed down the hill. Startled by the brilliance of flowering tulips, we stopped and marvelled.
We continued onwards to ‘our’ patch. Yes it was once known as Pete’s Patch. These days we all feel some degree of proprietorial ‘ownership’ of at least parts of the Community Food Garden. We feel invested in making sure the plants grow well, the paths are smooth, and the weeds are removed. Spring has brought warmer nights and days and, with some rain, healthy weed growth is increasingly visible.
Again I spent the day weeding. Again I was happy to do so. Happy to remove those plants that compete with the edibles that we are growing for Second Bite to harvest and feed people who do not have sufficient resources to buy fresh vegetables. Through the morning a couple of us worked our way through weeding a bed scattered with lettuces , lemon balm and violas that surrounded well established olive trees.
With such fine weeding, two hours of removals only covered the bottom of a bin by a few inches.By lunch time, the sun was scorching and my unshaded head left me with a slightly pink nose. After months of short days and needing to be rugged up with many layers of clothes, being able to sit and roast was a delight. Summer is on its way! Later a couple of volunteers, sat in the sun and worked with Coordinator Adam to clean paving stones ready to repair some walls. I was reminded of my visit to India years ago, where I watched stonemasons with their tools creating dust. Measured and purposeful industriousness.
Following lunch, I wandered briefly around the Food Garden looking for changes. Lots more blossom, including on some varieties of pear trees and not others.
Lots more fresh new leaves poking from recently dormant ‘sticks’.
I noted vegetables gradually rising up from the warming soil towards the sun. The Hellebores were looking luscious.Weeks ago I was fortunate to work in the Nursery pricking caraway seedlings. These were planted last week and are now growing strongly.I was shown a number of pineapple strawberry plants.I was shown a newly planted Fenugreek.What should I do next? Well that dreadful weed Medicago was again infiltrating the marjoram and had to go. Weeks ago, a team of us had tackled the area but back it had come. Trying to pretend it was a version of the ground covering marjoram. It was important to find its runners through the marjoram and preferably remove the roots of the weed at the same time. Its masquerade was clever. I found that even with a quick glance it was possible to miss the Medicago; it was important to look, then look again. And again. Over a couple of hours a few of us painstakingly extracted the weed from a small patch. I noted there is plenty to go on with next Thursday, if I should be at a loss as to what to do next. The hope is that the marjoram is about to grow rapidly with the warmer weather and will effectively stymy further Medicago growth for the time being. Obviously, like tacking oxalis, this is an ongoing lifetime battle.
I was surprised when the 3pm call went around. Time to leave. Another wonderful working day at the RTBG had passed so quickly.