By Julie Meyer
Farmer Jake inspires me. I also like to move or act aimlessly in a garden and he was working but in a way that did not feel like work, more like being “in” the garden. And yet. He was in a garden worthy of getting lost in. We almost did.
Three of us were on the JVGB garden tour last Sunday in Wellesley at the Weston Road Community Gardens. We were gathered on the opposite side of a looped road around maybe 50 garden plots. The beehives were where we were supposed to meet up with the rest of the group. We approached a gardener standing inside a rambly plot with an arbor sign above the entrance painted with the words “Jake’s Farm.”
We asked him, “do you know if there is any shortcut across to the other side of the gardens?” The garden plots were arranged in a double-wide layout. He lifted his arm towards the back of his plot, saying, “You can go right through mine!” We said thanks, yet not convinced how, once through his plot we’d then be able navigate through the fencing and chicken wire enclosures separating his garden to the garden behind his in order to reach the road behind. We asked as much. He answered, “They’re both mine!”
His back 40 were so expansive he could easily have been tending multiple connected plots. We cut through the back of his front garden, only to stall out in front of shockingly bionic horseradish. “What is this?!” He came closer. It was over 4 feet tall and wide. Until then I’d never seen horseradish even half that size.
Later we circled back to his garden because we wanted to check out more and chat up Farmer Jake. He had three rows of relaxed strawberries growing under paw-paw trees. He told us that the strawberries started over there (under the paw-paw), but they like new ground so, you can see here in row 2 they look better. And in this farthest row, they look even better. He must have dug up rows between the adventurous plants and the stay-at-homes.
I added this to my mental checklist for the garden I dream to have. Let there be room enough for the plants to grow– not just huge, but also let there be room enough for the plants to roam.
I’m still thinking about this garden as we approach Shabbat. There is a lot we could be doing next, but today I’m thinking about how a garden takes time to find itself. At Jake’s Farm, he said it’s been twenty years. I’m giving the garden a day off from us. I’ll see where it grows.
By Julie Meyer