September 19, 2010
Built and Grown: A Garden in Town
The subtle colors of a woodframe house are welcoming: the home of Beth Mueller, artist and friend, sits on a corner lot of a small city/large town in Vermont. The restraint and sensitivity of the house colors give way to a riotous profusion of growth when we enter the small back and side yards: brassicas, squashes, tomatoes, eggplants and peppers run rampant, producing large amounts of good, healthy food. Last summer, Beth grew so many eggplants that she gave me a bagful because I'd had a poor crop.
It is quite a surprise to see such abundance tucked alongside a house where we are used to seeing prosaic lawn, some foundation plantings, perhaps a few flowers. It's a lesson to us that we need not have acres of land to have a productive vegetable garden.
Even the local animals are well fed: when I walked towards the giant sunflowers to photograph them, a gray squirrel went scampering down from a sunflower head. The seeds are not completely ripe, yet the squirrels of the neighborhood have already eaten half of them. For any passerby, this is a visual feast, an unexpected joy on a quiet street.