Opinion: Village Matters

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Keep on Planting

ann christoph

Some people have remarked that the South Laguna Community Garden Park was looking sad. Indeed it was. We made the decision to remove nightshade shrubs that encircled much of the Garden because they were the overwintering habitat for tree hopper insects that were infesting tomato plants during the summer. Beautiful as they were with their blue flowers, they are considered noxious and invasive. Removal was traumatic, but now we are planting an array of California native plants and flowering drought tolerant shrubs.

Weekend after weekend volunteer gardeners (with masks) have been weeding and preparing the soil. Saturday a hard-working crowd of parents and children spread out on the big slope doing final weeding and digging holes. Mike Evans of Tree of Life Nursery prescribes filling those holes with water three times and letting the water percolate down each time. So as much as we wanted to see the plants in their new homes right then we had to wait a couple of days while the watering and percolating took place. This week we got to plant. 

The planting has been a renewal. A recovery from the isolation of the pandemic, but also a renewal of the community spirit that happens when a group that shares an idea comes together consistently to make change happen. Enthusiasm builds as we see how fast it can go with new friends digging in.  It has been a long time since we have done the big projects of building parts of the Garden Park. New gardeners are here now who never experienced that community “barn raising” feeling. Soon we’ll see the results of our communal effort as the plantings grow and the flowers bloom once more. More than that we’ll know and appreciate our fellow workers even more.

This is a perfect time to plant for all of us. The pandemic is winding down. Hope is building for a better and more appreciated life. We can rejoice in our neighbors who have survived with us. Our new flowers will lend a smile to all who pass by. Arbor Day is coming April 30. Let’s see how we can add more beauty all around us.

Build on this idea or your favorite helpful idea. A worthy idea is something positive to improve or inspire. Compelling, lasting movements arise from memorable principles like these, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” “All men are created equal.” “Government of the people, by the people, and for the people…”  Let’s be engaged in making these our overwhelming reality.

Let’s plant flowers and grow hope.

Ann is a landscape architect and former Laguna Beach mayor.

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