"Close some doors, not because of pride, arrogance, or incapacity, but because they no longer lead somewhere." ~ Paulo Coehlo
On Monday, June 26, 2023, I walked into the Q Gardens Community Farm with a shopping bag full of seedlings donated to the HWB Healing Project Mobile Clinic through the generosity of the Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm.
Desperate to be rooted in a home of of stable, rich soil, the tomato and parsley plant babies were suffocating in their starter pots. Their leaves were wilted and I imagined that the more robust peppers, okra and pansies were giving their companions a pep talk.
"Hold on guys! You can trust her. She will find us a home. We know she will."
Thankfully, I did not disappoint.
Strolling into Q Gardens to participate in Grower's Day, was one of the most notable days of my life as a beginning gardener. A fear of worms (scoleciphobia) has kept me from indulging in what always looked like a very meditative art. This year, I decided to face that fear and venture into the world that is teeming with insects of all species: jumping worms, spiders, centipedes, gnats; and, my personal favorite, bees.
I'm actually experiencing a more pronounced curiosity about bees and how they support the ecosystem. It really helps that they so generously share the flower nectar that they store in their little honey stomachs. Everyone needs friends like that.
When I arrived at the Garden, I was welcomed like an old friend bearing gifts. I felt a wave of gratitude wash over me as I entered this lush neighborhood space, housing a beautiful array of garden beds, pots, and buckets filled with herbs, flowers, and vegetables.
My first encounter was with Anne Schoeneborn, one of three garden coordinators. She was busy weeding, but took the time to listen to my story. She stopped what she was doing, to give me a tour, and introduced me to the other volunteers who were tending the garden that day.
Once I stepped into the clearing, I was met with warm smiles and open hearts. Natalia Sucre, another one of the garden coordinators and the operations compost coordinator, flashed me a dimpled smile as she helped Zoe, one of the many dedicated garden volunteers, decide on where to allow the plant newcomers to take a more permanent root. It was obvious that I was in a learning garden. Exactly where I needed to be!
In a conversation with Ashley Kuennekeone, the last of the three coordinators, I learned more about how to best arrange for a HWB Healing Project Mobile Clinic collaboration with the Garden.
As the Clinic Coordinator, I recognize the value of having a neighborhood garden as the ideal space for community giveaways, make-and-take workshops, aromatherapy consultations, kitchen medicine and self-care lectures, and community plant walks.
I couldn't be more excited about an opportunity to learn how to care for plants and become more connected with the Earth.
The stirring of anticipation I feel when I enter the Q Gardens Community Farm gate cannot be fully expressed in words. It's a feeling.
I invite you to experience it for yourself!
There are two upcoming opportunities for you to do just that in August.
Wednesday, August 2, 2023
(Meet at the garden on the corner of East 18th and Church)
Sunday August 6, 2023
HWB Healing Project Mobile Clinic
Carolyn Jones, Clinic Coordinator
Natural Self-Care with Plant Medicine & Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Explore the healing benefits of herbs
Enjoy herbal tea-tasting
Experience relief from stress and anxiety with ear seeds
The HWB Healing Project Mobile Clinic operates under the auspices of Herbalists Without Borders International, Inc. and seeks to uphold their mission to offer "affordable natural and botanical health and wellness" self-care education to all people.
Come on out and get to know us. There are no strangers in the garden.
"Everything that goes within you can be seen on the outside."
~ Ancient Herbs, Modern Medicine: Improving Your Health by Combining Chinese Herbal Medicine and Western Medicine