The garden is my turning point.
I grew up from a place where trees, plants, flowers and vegetable gardens are rare. The only time I had the opportunity to actually work with plants, was when I was in grade 6 and we were assigned to plant Kang-kong¬ (Ipomoea aquatic) beside our classroom window. I remember planting them, but not taking care of them and harvesting leaves. Aside from that, I only get to water plants when I visit my grandpa in the province; my grandpa has a vegetable garden and a lot of mango trees in Tarlac. When my family and I moved here in Canada, I was amazed by our school’s garden. When I heard in the announcement that they’re looking for volunteers, I signed up right away! I didn’t know a single thing about gardening, or how to grow plants, but I was passionate to learn and be closer to nature. This passion pushed me to give all my best to every plant in our garden and helped me get through the sunny, sweaty days.
The garden is my haven.
I remember that last semester, whenever I'm all stressed because of tests, quizzed and projects, I would always come to the garden. There was one time, all my works were due the next week all at the same day, and my classmates and I were all stressed out, but instead of going home, doing it and crying over it, I went to the garden and helped out for a couple of hours. In those two hours, I organized my thoughts and relaxed myself. With a calm mind, I was able to get everything done for the next week. The garden didn’t help me do my works; it helped me become functional again by giving me a soothing vibe and a chill atmosphere.
The garden is my bestfriend.
The garden knows most of my secrets and the story of my life. Last year, I would come to the garden and talk to my friends about my crush while we do work. Last semester, I would come to the garden and complain about school works and culminating. This summer, as I work in the garden, I whisper my secrets, talk about my dreams, share my plans for the future and complain about the sun, to the plants. I spend half of the day with them; they have become closer to me like a best friend.
The garden is my patient.
As an aspiring pediatrician, I see the plants as my first patients. Like infants, the plants can’t talk, can’t walk, and are vulnerable and sensitive. Taking care of them is more of a responsibility than a job to me. It makes me feel reliable and dependable when I provide the plants their needs. And seeing them grow provides me a great deal of encouragement that I will become an excellent pediatrician one day.
The garden is my time keeper.
Sometimes working in the garden makes me feel like time passed by quickly, while sometimes it makes me feel like time has stopped. There are plants that I check every day and watch grow, and there are also plants that I just find fully grown. The garden was just dirt before, but now it’s full of greens and blooming flowers. When I feel like my time is running out, I would just look at the garden and be amazed by how much time the garden keeps.
The garden is my family.
Like my family, the garden keeps me company; it feeds me, inspires me, and keeps me happy. Working in the garden never seems like work to me. Even if I didn’t get the job, I would still come to the garden and help out. When I’m in the garden, the comfort, peacefulness, pureness and productivity level is always 100%. It makes me feel at home with my family.
The garden is Aga.
I don’t know a garden without Aga. I find our garden most beautiful and working in the garden most fun when she’s there. She creates a happy mood, a loving environment and a great bond between the plants, the workers and the community. She makes everything possible and less complicated. She teaches me not only how to grow a plant, but also how to care for them. Since the day I started working in the garden, she has always been welcoming and understanding; she never gets tired of answering my questions even if I just asked the same question 30 minutes ago; she never gets mad even when I accidentally pulled out her favorite flower; and she never makes us work more than what we can handle. She’s also one of the most influential people in my life; she turned me into a veggie lover, a big supporter of the recycle program and water & energy conservation program, a biker, a gardener (without a green thumb), and an environmental friendly human being.
The garden is Ben and Adam.
I am pretty sure that for Abdullah and Calvin, and Sayara, Sabrina and Josh, it is also hard for them to see their garden without Ben/ Adam. And I know by heart, that these students’ dedication to keep their plants healthy and their garden beautiful were inspired by Ben and Adam who made these gardens so worthy. This summer, I was given the opportunity to visit their gardens and stare at the products of their hard work. Just by looking at the gardens, I was able to know more about the gardeners. It was a great experience and I’m totes looking forward to helping out to other gardens! (1st pic is Adam's @ John Polanyi, 2nd pic is Ben's @ Thistetown)
--Guest post by Waynes Manalang