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I’ve spent a very enjoyable portion of my life visiting gardens – small and large – rustic and elegant – casual and formal – public and private. I’ve visited as a girl, as a daughter, as a student, as a writer, and as a mother watching my own kids roll around and revel and learn in all these same kinds of gardens. PHOTO: A broad late summer sweep of the Mary Wattis Brown Native Plant Garden at UC Davis Arboretum.
When I was younger, I actually had a list of goals for my own home garden in construction. These goals ranged from the superficial to the philosophic and included having a hand built dry stack stone wall, having a small fruit tree orchard, having the willingness to open my garden to the public one day, and to be able and willing to host events in my garden for the benefit of charitable endeavors my family and I supported.
I can happily report that over the last 20 years with the help of family and friends these goals have all been met at least once – the emphasis in that information being placed firmly on: WITH THE HELP OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS OVER TIME. Each goal met taught me something about the way things work, about my own limitations and strengths, and about the power of community. PHOTO: A view down the main pathway at the McConnell Arboretum and Gardens at Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding..
All of these goals and the ways in which they were ultimately met in way or another supported my belief in the benefits of sharing a garden, and reminded me of the importance of opening private gardens and public gardens. When I recently visited a small public historical society interested in developing a native plant pollinator and ethnobotanical garden as an ecological and educational addition to their public facility – my first reaction was: “Wow – in this drought, in the economy of this particular small town – to establish a new public garden is an act of supreme optimism.”
Which on that day, in that week, was a needed reminder for ME!! Right! The ecological, educational, cultural and social goals of all gardens and gardeners are supreme acts of optimism in a world that can use them. Gardening and its “goals” are never a one-stop destination or possession but a storied journey of process – and hope. PHOTO: The Native Plant Pollinator Garden at Gateway Science Museum in Chico.
While it may not seem like the best time to visit gardens, there is in fact never a bad time to visit them and you can always learn something. In this dry late summer and early fall, we can certainly all use lessons on good plants, good techniques, good looks for our place at this time. Consider a visit to a local garden near you soon.
If you live in or plan to be visiting the Chico area in late September – on September 27th Altacal Audubon, the Mt. Lassen Chapter of the CNPS and the Butte Environmental Council will co-host a native plant garden tour of public and private gardens in and around Chico from 10 – 2 pm. For more information or to register for the tour, go to the Butte Environmental Council Tour Registration Page. PHOTO: A researcher, Jaime, from UC Berkeley’s Urban Bee Garden program collects data on how and to what extent urban gardens work to support native bee populations. Public gardens are excellent resources for such on going research and learning opportunities.
For a listing of many public gardens in the North State, visit the Links and Resources Page at Jewellgarden.com.
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In a North State Garden is a North State Public Radio and web-based program celebrating the art, craft and science of home gardening in Northern California and made possible in part by the Gateway Science Museum on the campus of CSU, Chico. In a North State Garden is conceived, written, photographed and hosted by Jennifer Jewell – all rights reserved jewellgarden.com. In a North State Garden airs on Northstate Public Radio Saturday morning at 7:34 AM Pacific time and Sunday morning at 8:34 AM Pacific time, every three weeks.