How Does The Garden Grow?
The garden grows diversely. One of our Spring 2O22 gardens is within a private, old growth forest. Located 45 minutes south of Boston, this space is USDA Hardiness Zones 6a, 6b and 7a. We’re choosing seeds, creating infrastructure, tracking light, testing soil. This garden will grow in a mutually beneficial relationship with the forest. Everything begins with what is. Everything begins with soil.
Ecosystems act as a whole. When we sew the seed, feed the flower, we are sewing & feeding the elaborate interconnectedness of e v e r y t h i n g. The flower feeds the fungi which feeds the trees; the trees feed the birds & the birds & the bees will feed (*read f*ck) the flowers. No act is without another act. No relationship stands alone. Everything in the forest is the forest.
I chose this location based on the plant communities & the capacity I believe this healthy forest has to support the introduction of medicinal plants, edible flowers & herbal allies. Its rich top soil & infinite mycorrhizal network will yield Meadowsweet blossoms, will allow Angelica to push its root down deep & Borage unfold into infinite violet
inflorescences. I am smiling as I write the future I see.
And, in many ways, this location chose me. I moved back to my hometown after the forest fires raged in Sonoma County, California & the pandemic raged our collective conscious, hospital hallways, flower arrangements & funeral homes. In the Summer of 2O2O, I arrived up on this property to take care of two young boys. I was welcomed into their home by J, their father, a warm-hearted brotherly-like-figure who grew up in Vermont on a dairy farm & now works for a company that starts with the letter G. His wife, a zero frills Physician’s Assistant generously shares her anatomy books with me. Their dynamic is diy, family-focused & humble. While caring for their sons, we found ghost mushrooms, planted “secret” gardens in the open plot behind their home; with them, I tuned into this ecosystem, these native plants, & this soil. It eased my transition from west to east.
Transitions are eased by potential; transitions are eased by sensorial experiences, a connection to Place. A deep connection to the natural world is how home is created. I save the seeds, rake the leaves, eat the flowers, plan the rotations, & open to the evolution of all of this. I am here & I am home here, humbled to share this collaborative creation. The integrity & diversity of this soil & the abundant, earth-based, organic, (eventually!) lab-tested herbal medicine that will grow is something I am overjoyed to share with you.
- Allie Cuozzo