Last year we started a Gardening Project between Duffy Health Center and St. Joseph’s Shelter. As an organic gardener I know how healing growing healthy foods can be; from planning the garden, to planting, to care and maintenance and finally eating the fruits of one’s labor, gardening is an all around spiritually fulfilling activity. For me, there’s nothing like getting my hands in the dirt, finding earth worms in the compost, or the smell of tomato plants as I pluck weeds out of the beds. There’s also nothing like the mind, body, earth, soul, spirit connection that happens when one works the land. St. Joseph’s had a garden in the past, but I was on a mission to help this garden project grow. And grow it did. We had several guests really invested in working the garden and one guest commented that as the garden grew so did she. Growing, blossoming, becoming….plants and clients alike.
This year, the garden has been taken to the next level. Some of the shelter guests are farmers or horticulturists who know about cool stuff like permaculture and growing in unique conditions.. We have added to our garden beds by creating herb gardens out of old pallets and growing potatoes in old tires. The guests also made a butterfly feeder out of an old curtain rod and a plastic champagne flute. The gardeners have also worked to beautify the grounds, planting daisies in cracked pottery, creating border gardens and shade gardens with donations from a number of folks in the community and a large donation from Crocker Nurseries and Hyannis Country Gardens.
My take away this year is about re-purposing. The guests saw discarded tires and pallets and knew that they had value. With imagination and care, old curtain rods become a source of sustenance, cracked flower pots become an art piece. With imagination and care, with vision and a desire to draw out the very best in what is around us, the garden and guests continue to blossom, to heal, to grow, and to have new purpose.