Last week my mother hand-delivered an afghan my grandmother crocheted for us. “It’s garden inspired,” Mom said. “I have to tell it like Grandma did. . . ” She went on to describe the afghan’s carefully selected colors and the meanings behind its reds, greens, oranges, and yellows. “The red stands for tomatoes, the green is for beans, the orange is the carrots, and the yellow is for butternut squash,” she remembered.
The afghan was such a wonderful gift from Grandma and got me excited for the hope that comes with spring. Around Hilltop lately, buds have been forming on deciduous trees and shrubs. Safeway has been stocking bulbs for a weeks and lately we’ve spotted them carefully making their way out of the ground. Soon the sounds of the Daffodil Parade will be ringing throughout Tacoma and beyond. While the warmth of spring may seem like forever away, this week’s freezing temperatures are only a minor setback compared to what we have to look forward to.
During my snow day yesterday, I read Paul Fleischman’s short book, Seedfolks. It is a story about neighbors in the city whose paths grow together and change for the better as they each take on their own part in a community garden. One of the community members, Amir, says, “When I saw the garden for the first time. . . I thought back to my parents’ Persian rug. It showed climbing vines, rivers and waterfalls, grapes, flower beds, singing birds. . . Those rugs were indeed portable gardens (58-59).” That is what my grandmother’s afghan is to us–a portable garden–something that will remind us that springtime is always near.
Community gardens offer city dwellers so many things. They give us a place to learn, build memories, fulfill dreams, teach each other, succeed, grow our own food and flowers, and so much more. Hilltop has come a long way since its years of notoriety and is ready for more community sharing and spaces. Friends of the community have worked hard to get us to where we are today.
This year, two spots on Hilltop have been proposed as possible community garden sites. Let’s hope we are fortunate enough to get support from the City of Tacoma so we can plant some seeds.
Tacoma’s Community Garden Program supports gardens city-wide and offers free gardening workshops for city residents. For more information about Tacoma’s Community Garden Program, visit their website.