By: Dan Camenga
As I watch my children explore nature, I often think back to my own childhood and consider similarities between our experiences. My recent visit to Eklund Garden in Shelton, CT helped me recall some of those memories. One experience is reaching for the rays of colorful sunshine stretching through the trees, displaying their fall colors. Another fond memory is seeing and hearing the bees rushing around in the fall to grab a bit more pollen – a valuable fall harvest before the long, cold winter.
Eklund Garden is a special place. We congratulate and encourage those who are involved with this public garden. While not highly manicured, I sense the love and care that has been invested into the space. In many ways, Eklund Garden is a like a secret garden in the forest. If it wasn’t for the deer fence and a few simple interpretive signs along the entry path, I suspect some visitors would wonder if the garden had sprung up solely though nature’s hand!
One of the great joys of gardens is that they are as diverse as the human spirit. Gardeners paint with nature and use plants as their brush. As visitors, we must be cautious with our expectations. While Eklund Garden and Denver Botanic Garden are both public gardens (for example) – they are drastically different spaces. Each with a unique story. Each with a unique group of stewards and resources. Each facing a different geographic situation.
When exploring a variety of public gardens, I believe the most important comparison is not the vast differences, but the key similarity. To me, that common attribute is that each garden serves as active resource for the local community as well as for America in general. This country needs gardens. In the most fundamental way, that message is why the Garden Literacy Project exists.
Help us share the vast array of experiences with public gardens by adding your voice. Visit the “Your Story” section of www.GardenLiteracyProject.org!