Monday, June 25, 2018

The Other Black Gold

I often wondered what it was about the compost pile that marked the turning point?

If you went, there wouldn’t be much to see in that place. Some may say ‘nothing to see at all’.

No blinding glory and no beauty for sure.  Almost an exact opposite of the Home Depot garden center.

The best way to describe it would be a large pile of dirt under the giant canopy of blue sky. That’s it.

Just dirt. Pure, unadulterated dirt.

The Pile lives on the outer edge of the city, just beyond the city limits on the county landfill property. It is located a stone’s throw away from the gated entrance, not too far from the recycling facility, but some ways from the actual landfill where our community stinky garbage is carefully, professionally buried and beautified into rolling hills of Florida.  

Everything that is discarded from the residents’ lawns and gardens – trimmed overgrowth, storm tossed broken limbs, weeds, lawn clippings, fallen leaves, dried out potted plants once given as gifts to incompetent brown thumbs like me – all our ugly, useless and burdensome is collected weekly and combined together into gardening wreckage heaps.  These giant monstrosities are then marinated and slow-baked in the heat and humidity until the magic of time and some fantastic science turn them into the other black gold.  

Once ready, the gold is graciously moved closer to the entrance where it is freely given to any resident willing to come, grab a shovel and get his or her own.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Where Gardeners are Made... or Not

My rich history of failure has taught me that regular visits to the neighborhood Home Depot garden center will NOT automatically turn me into a gardener.  

It always seemed like such a logical place to start... All that glory and beauty, inspiration and elevation - it's bound to have some effect.  But, the effect was short-lived at best. The oversized marigolds which were calling my name there, once home suddenly lost their luster and somehow shrunk to an unimpressive size. They quickly wilted in the heat of the day and, eventually dried out and dead, would get flung onto the compost pile on the side of the house with the rest.

Still I found myself like a crack addict coming back for more, mindlessly roaming the aisles of green, watching busy shoppers pushing their stuffed up carts with pots of marigolds and bags of manure, mulch and Miracle Gro.

I guess gardening and logic do not always go hand in hand.

I couldn't get the thought out of my mind: 

If Home Depot garden center is not the place to learn how to become a gardener, then what is????

I don't know if it was around that time that I first heard about the landfill or something caused that previously acquired information to finally 'click'. It’s not the type of common knowledge you share with other customers while waiting in the Walmart checkout line. 

Have you been to the landfill lately?  Have you seen the latest pile of junk they've got?

Right now I can’t even remember who told me about it first. 

All I know, my initial trip there marked the beginning of an utterly new chapter in my gardening life, a genuine paradigm shift of sort.