The Lake Highlands Community Garden, thanks to the gorgeous weather that started the year, saw a lot of activity over the past few days. Plots were reassigned and new families were out tilling their soil; established plots were built up and additional soil added; seasoned gardeners and ‘newbies’ compared notes on what they would be planting. Over at the second community garden of Lake Highlands, the Highlands Christian Church Garden on McCree, soil was smoothed, onions were planted, hay was spread.

I know this because I’ve been back and forth between both gardens. Not only did I need to prep Pairadise, my plot at the LHCG, for spring planting, but I needed to ready my new plot at the Highlands Christian Garden (No name yet. Suggestions?). Yes, I’m a glutton for punishment. I’ve secured a second plot. But then so have A.L. Nickerson and Steve Clary, both hard-core LHCGers. What can I say? We’re gardeners. We’re insane. But we have pictures.
I know this because I’ve been back and forth between both gardens. Not only did I need to prep Pairadise, my plot at the LHCG, for spring planting, but I needed to ready my new plot at the Highlands Christian Garden (No name yet. Suggestions?). Yes, I’m a glutton for punishment. I’ve secured a second plot. But then so have A.L. Nickerson and Steve Clary, both hard-core LHCGers. What can I say? We’re gardeners. We’re insane.

Add to the mix that I have a garden at my house too. I now have three gardens. Can you say obsessed? My home plot was by far in the worst shape of the three. I yanked all the dead stuff out, pitch forked the entire area one square foot at a time, axed out the PVC pipe that had moved close to the surface, lugged and spread the three 40-pound bags of expanded shale, the three 40-pound bags of compost and the two 40 pound bags of Boy Scout mulched leaves, and broke up as many bowling ball size chunks of clay that I could. I was ready to till.

What’s a girl to do? Why, call her old gardening friends for help. Mr. Nickerson, without hesitation, loaned me – and delivered to me – his Troy Bilt tiller, light weight enough for me to handle (not like the behemoth that Clary rented to till his plot). A.L. showed me how to use it and I began the task at hand. I lasted about ten minutes before my arthritis kicked in, my hands crimped up, and my lower back tightened and pretty much brought me face to face with my rubber boots. I made a phone call to some strapping young men I know, Conor and Mason Puckett (you know, the Boy Scout Flag guys).

"Hey Conor, I’ll pay you $20 to till my small little piece of earth, shouldn’t take you more then an hour". Nope, Conor had a friend visiting for a study session. (Yeh, right, day before school starts and Conor’s studying. Uh huh.) "Mason, want to earn a little money?" Fat chance. Mason’s at a friends house either building or setting off a rocket, I’m not sure which and quite frankly don’t really want to know. I’m in trouble at this point.

Ah, a knock on the door. It’s Hilary Puckett, mother of the boys NOT wanting to stuff a twenty in their pockets. She’s come to help me! Between the two of us we pitched a whole bunch more just so we could get the tiller to break up the clumps of clay. She put at least an hour into my plot. As luck would have it the cavalry showed up (that would be husband Terry) and he took over and finished the job with his brute upper body strength (which I know he’ll be feeling tomorrow).

Mr. Clary brought me hay for my new Highlands garden. Mr. Nickerson loaned me his tiller. My gardening friend (and the best darned Science Teacher this side of the Mississippi) Hilary Puckett gave me her time and energy. Terry gave me his strength.

It’s 2009 and I’m ready to plant, thanks very much to my friends the gardeners.