So plant your own gardens and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers. (Jorge Luis Borge)
Dirty fingernails and calloused hands are not usually a source of pride…but in our Dovetail program, there is a new group who compares how rough their hands are. Who are they? A small but mighty group called the Gracious Gardeners. Our outreach worker, Beata, has long dreamt of a project to encourage our women to plant gardens. This year, together with Marilyn, four women came together to dream about small gardens in the townhouse backyards. A few phone calls later, and there was sponsorship available from Tuf Turf and Rootcellar – both businesses excited to support women growing food for their families. So soil was delivered… ground was dug… seeds were planted… and women worked and watched and waited…
Each of these women have left abusive relationships – each one has left their lives behind and started out new, facing incredible challenges and hardship. They know what being transplanted feels like… they know what losing their roots is all about. And they also know about growth, about regeneration and about blossoming in a new place. Out of their hardship has come great resilience and incredible beauty.
The process of planting and tending a garden has been not just been therapeutic for these women, but it has also become a source of great pride and enthusiasm. The women have felt that sense of accomplishment in having created something – and watching it grow and produce beautiful and edible things. Some of the women have never gardened before – and needed help to know basics such as when to harvest the lettuce. Others have come back to gardening with a long forgotten passion and the hidden knowledge that gardening brings healing. Dotted around the property are little sanctuaries of growth, healing and beauty.
As the gardens grow, so do our women. What started as a group of 4, has doubled in size. And as the gardens grow and produce food for the families, we see women growing and healing. And that is what being a Gracious Gardener is all about.