Both of us, having worked so hard up to this day to get the gardens ready for public enjoying, felt a sense of accomplishment and readiness to meet over a hundred guests. Then suddenly, I felt a shot of anxiety as I remembered we would need to re-tap the trail for a second time this week for any friends with wheelchairs who might visit (we had compacted the stone trail just days ago for the July 12 Sunday Stroll and Memory Café). Karl agreed to tap the trail if I would run to Dunkin’ Donuts for two toasted sesame seed bagels with veggie cream cheese, our morning fuel. When I returned, he had completed the compacting. We had a quick breakfast before moving on to cutting the grass, raking the trail, deadheading flowers, dusting-off sitting chairs-benches-logs, and organizing literature on the information and welcome tables. At 10:45am we met our first guests.
Morning visitors came two by two, in an easy flow, four duos, mostly friends. At 11:45am until 4:30pm, we met groups of 2,3,4,5- up to 10 guests, and figure that between 100-130 guests enjoyed our garden over the six and a half hours.
We really enjoyed meeting neighbors who shared with us they have witnessed our garden growing-up from the start in 2009. They had seen the trellis fence go up in 2010, and some said they knew a garden was behind the fence, but they had no idea the extent of the garden or that we had a cause. Many were surprised to learn that in addition to creating and maintaining the wheelchair-accessible MargFMac Front Garden Loop (0.1 mile) at our home, we’ve been developing a cause-project and programs since 2009. Many times throughout the day I repeated, “we’re building accessible gardens for the future… our forty-year vision-in-action is to develop a four-acre respite park for caregivers and care-receivers… right now, we’re doing what we can, with what we have, once-a-month…” People said this was a great idea and so needed in our community. Expecting to hear the frequently asked question, “So how long have you been doing this [building the gardens]?” we created a new 1-legal-page educational document: an Accessible Gardens Development Timeline; it offers an overview of key dates and milestones through July 12, 2015. Please e-mail me if you would like a copy.
Other neighbors expressed an interest in volunteering with us to host our monthly Sunday Stroll and Memory Café, to provide hand-skills, or to be senior horticulture/landscape mentors. Many thanks to the individuals who made a financial donation to the cause.
Yesterday’s Open Garden Day 2015, 10am – 4pm, at our home and nine others in Topsfield and Boxford, MA, was enjoyed by all. Thanks to Darcy Fulton, our Topsfield neighbor, for organizing this community event!
Moving forward with a listening heart,
vision, inquiry, and action,