What’s going on out there?


For obvious reasons, most gardeners don’t write much about their activities during the growing season, at least not this far north, where the summers are short and the winters long.  On this cold bright day in January I am thinking of last season’s gardens, as well as all that needs doing before spring.  The light is getting stronger and March does not seem far away.  But first, there is a tale to tell.

Back when the air was warm and the days long, some of you may have sat by a tall sunny window in the library and noticed flowers blooming, birds busy at feeders, pumpkins glowing orange, and hummingbirds zipping about.  You may have seen people doing normal garden tasks, such as weeding, but you also may have seen them hauling bales of straw, piling up logs, laying down newspaper, and making large mounds, among other odd activities.  And, you may have wondered, “what is going on out there?”

It turns out that a lot is going on out there.  It started back in 2007 with a boy scout project: a beautiful path of spiral stepping stones from the back door of the children’s area.   A few years later a garden to attract birds was installed by another group of scouts (girls this time).  Perennials began popping up here and there.  A children’s flower garden grew around the spiral path.  Volunteers appeared and began experimenting with funky growing techniques such as keyhole beds, hugel mounds, vertical growing, and strawberry spirals.  Plans were hatched for an Edible Forest Garden – which is just what is sounds like, but more on that later.

The gardens were attracting attention.  A handicapped accessible gravel path around the building was put in.  The gardens spilled over with food for the birds, pumpkins for the kids, nectar for the bees, plants from which to make tea, and even some squash & cukes for Mid Coast Hunger Prevention.  A library friend brought wonderful greenhouse specimens into the main reading room.  A fanciful teepee of white birch sprung up – under which at least two couples were married – and when it rotted out this year, another garden friend found the very best wood with which to replace it.  Around the front, the large circle bed was redesigned and the first trees were planted.

The original spiral stepping stone path opened a door of possibilities, each with a small story of its own.  In the next few months I, along with some of the other folks who made the gardens grow, will write a short post with some more details about all that’s been evolving outside the library walls. We’re going to name some names, we’re going to explain what hugel mounds are, and we’re going to tell you what is the very best wood from which to make a teepee.  Stay tuned.

Sarah Wolpow

TPL Garden Coordinator