Creation shouts joy: A garden, flourishing
For several summers I have tended the Madison School garden. The garden softens all that brick, concrete, and the asphalt play area and also serves as a welcome to kids who walk the sidewalk toward the building.
The garden is a metaphor for renewal and rebirth. The butterfly bush grows to five feet each summer and is cut back the next spring to grow again. I do some manipulation, limiting the aggressive milk weed plants to one area away from the walk way (the monarch butterflies have no trouble finding them) and encourage the cone flower seedlings to grow wherever they want because they are colorful, hardy, and drought-resistant (and a favorite of bees).
One perk as I work in the garden is interacting with Madison kids. They are sometimes curious about just what I’m doing there. One inquisitive third-grader asked, “How much you get paid for doin’ this?” I tried to explain about volunteering, the feeling good about making the garden look better. Then she said, “How long you been doin’ this?” I told her – several years. Exasperated, hand on her hip, she said, “You need to get a different job.”
Other volunteers do heavy lifting for the garden. This fall, Dave and Jeannine Crockett planted 20 mums for some color after most of the other flowers were through blooming. Clayton Lloyd and others put down a thick layer of mulch in late summer. Steve Mielenhausen, school principal, did some watering during the dry months. Dana Welser, St. Paul’s neighborhood school coordinator, generously provides financial support from the church’s Daily Ministry Budget for the garden’s needs.
It takes a small village to keep the garden flourishing (plus some rain and sunshine at the right times).
— Rex Grove