|Suzanne Good reached out to us back in mid-June to see if we had any vegetable plants left that we were willing to donate for raised beds behind a high rise building in Hazelwood. Many of the residents are older or in wheelchairs, so the raised beds are great for easy access. We were happy to partner with her, and one day her and her son, William, stopped by to pick all of the plants up, along with some compost. Russ had drawn up a planting design to give an idea of spacing requirements. We did the easy part, now Suzanne and William had a lot of work in front of them.
Here is how she described planting day–
“Are you familiar with the book, Stone Soup? It is a children’s book in which newcomers (I think) to a village announce that they will be preparing a delicious soup for the people in the village. Their first ingredient/contribution to the soup is three (?) stones. As members of the community become aware of the soup preparation, each member contributes something, i.e. onion, celery, potatoes, etc. In the end, the soup is delicious and there is plenty for all. I was reminded of this book as William and I worked throughout the day.
First, we were given your generous donation of all of the plants and a truck load of dark leaf mulch (I think I want that in my own garden next year!). You not only donated the plants and soil enrichment (with instruction as to how to distribute it), you drew up a plan for the placement and arrangement of the plants in the beds! When William and I left the greenhouse, we could not have been more encouraged or prepared!
When we first arrived, we placed the plants on one of the tables adjacent to the beds. The table was in full sun and it was going to take some time – many trips with a wheelbarrow between the truck in the building’s parking lot and the beds behind the building – to prepare the beds with the leaf mulch, so the plants, which now looked a little droopy, needed water. The building’s social worker Gwen Harris (pictured in purple), who had come out to say hello, offered to find a bucket and bring us some water for the plants.
Shortly thereafter and in the heat of the day, Ralphina Coleman (pictured in red), came out with ice pops.
Throughout the late afternoon and early evening, residents came out to say hello and check out the plants that were being planted. Carlos Page, a resident and member of the Bible study (not pictured) stopped by to say hello. He was not able to help with the planting, but he offered to take responsibility for watering the garden.
Richard Lucas arrived to help as did Janet Evans. When Janet Evans’ aide, Ashley, arrived Tuesday night to work with Janet, we were nearly finished. The final step would be watering the beds, but there was no hose. Ashley announced that she had a hose at her home in Squirrel Hill that she had never used, it was still in its original packaging, and she said she would be happy to give it to us. She went home to get the hose.
Any final pictures were taken in darkness (and on someone else’s phone so I will try to find and send those to you). William and I left at about 10 pm.
I cannot thank you enough for all you and Russ contributed to this project. As I mentioned in earlier emails, this has been such a strange and troubling time. In the midst of all of this, I found an even greater degree of comfort, purpose, satisfaction, and hope in my own gardening, which then evolved into my desire to tackle the beds behind the high rise. This experience has been such a gift on so many levels.”
Thank you Suzanne for all you do for the community! We were happy to be a small stone in this “Stone Soup” garden.